Huntington St. Joe girls outlast Boyd County, 85-72
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University women’s basketball head coach Tony Kemper was in the crowd Tuesday night watching Thundering Herd recruits Paige Shy and Savannah Wheeler battle against each other for the final time.
Boyd County’s Wheeler won the head-to-head battle with 30 points against Huntington St. Joe’s Shy with 26.
But Shy’s Fighting Irish won convincingly against the Lions, 85-72. It was St. Joe’s second victory this season over Boyd County. The Irish beat the Lions 73-68 on Jan. 5 in Summit, Kentucky.
Shy had the early advantage with six 3-point field goals in the first half that boosted St. Joe to a big halftime lead.
The teams played evenly in the first period with the Class A No. 1 Fighting Irish (16-1) getting a 3 from Dionna Gray with one second remaining in the period to take a 21-15 lead. St. Joe began the second period with a 15-0 run that put Boyd Co. (19-4) into a hole it couldn’t climb out of.
Wheeler provided the highlight, and a moment of humor, inbounding a pass to herself off of Shy, who had her back turned. Wheeler went around Shy scored on a layup and drew a foul that ended the Lions’ scoring drought.
At halftime, however, Shy had outscored Wheeler 20-12 and the Fighting Irish built a 50-27 lead.
Boyd County and Wheeler did not go away quietly.
Wheeler led the Lions’ charge in the third period with 13 of her points and Boyd County used a 19-6 surge that cut the Irish lead to 56-46 with 3:56 remaining in that quarter. St. Joe head coach Shannon Lewis called a timeout to regroup his squad.
Coming out of the timeout, Bailee Adkins scored on a layup that reignited the Irish and they closed the period still leading by 16.
The fourth period had St. Joe on cruise control.
St. Joe, which honored its seniors prior to tip-off of its final regular season home game, pulled Shy and Dena Jarrells off the floor to a standing ovation.
“It was emotional and it all makes me want to cry,” Shy said. “It took everything I had to keep it all in.”
St. Joe will play its final four regular season games away from home, although the Irish won’t travel far for a Monday game at Ashland.
BOYD COUNTY 15 12 28 17 — 72: Caldwell 3, Wheeler 30, Rucker 9, G. Borders 3, Opell 6, Paynter 13, E. Borders 6, Parsons 2.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 21 29 21 14 — 85: Adkins 17, Hickman 6, Whitmore 12, Jarrells 14, Lee 5, Gray 3, Roberts 2, Shy 26.