The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Sports

March 5, 2012

Patriots headed to states

FAYETTEVILLE — Basketball is a team game, but sometimes individual determination has to come to the forefront.

Such was the case, said veteran Midland Trail girls coach Cynthia Hedrick, after her Patriots upset Fayetteville 44-42 in a ragged Class A Region 3 co-final contest at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building Wednesday and earned a berth in this week’s state tournament.

“We fought back,” Hedrick said after her team clawed back into contention after Fayetteville’s Avina Sedlock and Taren Bone each scored two points to put the Pirates in the driver’s seat, 42-35, with 2:38 remaining. “And it was more just the individual drive not to quit.”

“She (Hedrick) had them playing hard,” said Fayetteville coach John Mark Kincaid, whose squad defeated its Fayette County rival twice in the regular season. “You tip your hats to them.

“They played hard and smart and didn’t quit.”

While Kincaid said officiating didn’t win or lose the game for his team, he expressed his displeasure with the three-man crew blowing the whistles for the contest.

“I wasn’t real happy with the officiating, especially in the post,” he said, noting that leading scorer Jessica Brown and others had to sit often after incurring foul trouble. “Jessica was in foul trouble the whole game; that was huge.

“We rely so much on her.”

After Fayetteville gained its late seven-point cushion, Midland Trail went to work.

Emily Carte scored an inside basket to make it 42-37 at the 2:28 mark, and the Patriots caught fire.

“At the moment (when the Pirates took their seven-point lead), I thought yes,” senior Allison Syner, who led Trail with 21 points, said when asked if she felt the Patriots were going to lose. “When Emily made that and-one (Carte made the bucket and missed her free throw), I knew then that, with a little effort, we could do it.

“I’m very excited. We wanted to leave it all on the floor. I didn’t want this to be my last game.”

Syner, who struggled from the free-throw line in the early going, canned a pair of freebies at the 1:50 mark to trim the deficit to 42-39. That set the stage for a bit of heroics from sophomore Marissa Workman, who buried a 3-pointer from the right wing after taking a feed from teammate Hannah Legg, knotting the score at 42-all with :57 left.

“All season I‘ve been trying to put it together,” said Workman. “I lost my confidence, but (assistant coach) Candace  (Young) always told me not to think about it too much.

“I knew we were down, and I knew our crowd wasn’t happy and needed a boost, so I said a little prayer (and let it fly).”

After Trail’s Stephanie Cooper made it 43-42 with a foul shot with :12 to go, Fayetteville had a chance to go ahead. Brown passed to teammate Maddie Pritt inside, and Workman was fouled while possessing the ball on the ensuing scramble under the Pirate basket.

She went to the other end of the floor and made the first of her two-shot foul with :02 remaining, and the Pirates turned the ball over on the resulting in-bounds, allowing Midland Trail to escape.

“I knew we had to get the ball,” Workman said of the play prior to her final free throw, adding, “I feel great, we’re going to states.” Workman finished with nine points.

“Coach Kincaid and his players did an awesome job,” Hedrick said after her players posed for a large group photo with the student section supporters from their school. “And we had super support from our Hico Psychos.”

Brown finished with 16 points to lead the Pirates (17-7), while Avina Sedlock chipped in 12.

Brown’s eight points led Fayetteville to a 13-7 advantage after the first period. The Pirates used a 9-0 spurt to overcome an early 5-4 Midland lead in that frame.

Fayetteville led 18-9 with about 3:00 remaining in the second, but Midland Trail got six straight points from Syner and two more from Workman, the latter coming after a Fayetteville miscue in the final minute. Sedlock’s two-point goal then made the halftime score 20-17 for the Pirates.

Fayetteville built up a 30-21 cushion  midway through the third quarter, but Syner’s 3-pointer propelled the Patriots on a run that got them back within three, 32-29, a short time later.

Midland Trail will play in the Class A state tournament at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against top-seeded St. Joseph at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum. It will mark the Trail girls program’s first state appearance since 2001.

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