After trailing by four points early in the second period and leading by just two at halftime, No. 2 seed Wheeling Central responded in a huge way in the second half to rout No. 7 Valley.
In a Class A girls state basketball tournament opener at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum Wednesday, the Maroon Knights bucketed the first 18 points of the second half and blitzed the Greyhounds 42-5 in the final two quarters combined to cruise to a 66-27 victory.
Wheeling Central (22-4) was led by Colleen McCormick’s 14-point, nine-rebound effort, while Emily Bucon contributed 14 points and eight assists.
Valley (13-8) was led by senior Alexis Payne, who collected 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“I’m proud of my teammates and of myself,” said Payne.
Valley led 18-14 on a pair of Payne free throws at the 6:37 mark of the second, but Wheeling Central utilized an 8-0 spurt to go ahead 22-18 and wound up leading 24-22 at intermission, setting the stage for the second-half explosion.
The Maroon Knights, who advance to play No. 3 St. Marys at 9:30 a.m. Friday, turned up their pressure defense, caused 21 second-half Greyhound turnovers and limited Valley to 9.5 percent field goal shooting (2-of-21) in the final two periods.
For a complete story, see Monday’s Tribune.
— Steve Keenan