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GW beats Cabell Midland

January 25, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON — George Washington’s march toward becoming relevant again in Class AAA took another big step forward on Thursday evening.

The host Patriots picked up their fifth straight win (all over Mountain State Athletic Conference competition) and their second straight over a ranked opponent, using stingy defense and a group rebounding effort to get by No. 9 Cabell Midland 52-39 in girls high school basketball.

Senior guard Katy Darnell led the way for GW, registering game-highs in points (19), rebounds (10), assists (six) and steals (four).

A first-team, All-State selection a year ago, Darnell returned from a state-tournament run a year ago along with three fellow starters and that saddled the team with some big preseason expectations and a No. 3 ranking. But up against a tough schedule, GW (9-6) limped to a 4-7 start until its recent run of five wins has seemed to right the ship.

Darnell admitted the early adversity was fueled somewhat by last season’s success but performances like Thursday night’s are more an indication of what the team is capable of.

“We thought we were just going to come in and breeze through it because we got to the state tournament last year,” Darnell said. “No, that’s not how it works.”

It seems to be a case of lesson learned for the Patriots which registered a crucial 51-46 win at No. 4 South Charleston on

Tuesday, a victory that could be even bigger in terms of sectional seeding.

The team, packed with explosive scorers and shooters, have gotten the job done on the defensive end, a trend that continued on Thursday. During its five-game streak, GW has yielded more than 50 points only once and was in no danger of that on Thursday as scoring was at a premium for the Knights (9-7).

An early 12-2 run for GW gave it a 24-13 lead in the second quarter and the Patriots carried a 33-22 advantage into the half. After Kalissa Lacy extended that advantage to 35-22 with a bucket to start the second half, Midland ripped off the next nine points to close to within four, prompting a timeout for GW coach Jamie LaMaster.

“I told them I thought we lost our focus a little bit,” LaMaster said. “I’ve been staying calm with them and I told them to relax and just kind of got them regrouped a little bit, that’s all it was.”

“They started hitting shots and we didn’t and it kind of effected both ends of the floor,” Midland coach Matt Adkins said. ”(LaMaster has) got a good team. They were just better tonight.”

It certainly did the trick as Vivian Ho connected on a three off a Darnell assist to stop the run and spark a 14-2 spurt for the Patriots to all but put the game on ice. Ho added 13 points for GW, as did Lacy.

“They started hitting shots and we didn’t and it kind of effected both ends of the floor,” Midland coach Matt Adkins said. ”(LaMaster has) got a good team. They were just better tonight.”

The road won’t get any easier for GW, not by a long shot. Its next two games scheduled are against current No. 1 teams with a home date against Parkersburg on Monday and a game against Class AA No. 1 Wyoming East in the Big Atlantic Classic in Beckley set for Thursday. Win or lose, GW will see a fifth straight ranked opponent in Beckley as well with Class AAA No. 6 Martinsburg taking on Class A No. 6 Summers County in the other game of the Patriots’ bracket.

But no matter who GW is looking at next, spirits are certainly much higher than they have been and game-by-game, the Patriots are trying to build themselves into what most thought they would be coming into the year.

“It feels really good,” LaMaster said. “Early in the year it was up and down and these last three have been big. The way the kids have responded, this is the way we knew they could play, the way they played in the summer and in the fall and for whatever reason, it’s taken this long to pull it back out of them again.”

“It’s a confidence booster,” Darnell said. “I’m glad we got those wins. South Charleston was a big win, this was a big win and we’ve got to move that forward to Parkersburg on Monday. Just to get a couple of wins under our belt and be able to play and get that win, means so much. If we start winning, we start carrying confidence into the next game, playing better defense and stuff like that.”

Kirya Kingery led the Midland charge with 12 points and Lexi Adkins chipped in with 10. Despite being at a size disadvantage nearly across the board, the Patriots outrebounded the Knights 30-26.

CABELL MIDLAND 13 9 11 6 — 39: Potter 2-3 0-2 4, Allie 1-7 0-0 2, Hightower 1-2 1-2 3, Kingery 3-10 5-6 12, Adkins 5-6 0-0 10, Maynard 1-4 0-0 2, Charles 0-2 0-0 0, Lewis 2-8 2-4 6, Watts 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-41 8-14 39.

GEORGE WASHINGTON 17 16 8 11 — 52: Lacy 5-20 2-2 13, Ho 4-8 2-6 13, Harmison 2-6 0-0 5, Darnell 8-19 3-5 19, Smith 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 19-55 9-15 52.