LOGAN, W.Va. — After a sluggish start, Friday night’s Mingo Central/Chapmanville high school girls’ basketball game was just about as good as it gets.
Both teams left it all on the floor.
The Miners claimed the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 championship with a 53-51 overtime thriller over Chapmanville Regional before a good crowd at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
Both teams advance to Wednesday’s Region 4 co-championship game but it was Mingo Central (18-6) which earned the right to play for a state tournament on its home floor after knocking off Chapmanville (16-7).
Mingo Central is scheduled to host Poca (16-7) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Miner Mountain. Chapmanville will have to do it the hard way with a road encounter at No. 3-ranked Winfield (20-3), also at 7 on Wednesday evening.
Friday night’s rubber game between the Miners and the Lady Tigers was a classic.
The two teams had met twice before this season with each team winning on their home floor.
This time, they took the game to Logan’s neutral floor and the third meeting was filled with twists and turns, lead changes and big defensive plays.
“We won four games last year and now we’re 18-6,” a happy Mingo Central coach Brandon Ball said after the win. “This is huge for the program and for the school. The girls really don’t get that much love. So I told the girls that if you want respect you’ve got to win.”
Ball commended Chapmanville in the hard-fought game.
“First off, I want to thank Chapmanville. They are a great team,” Ball. “I think we’re two of the best two teams in the entire region. I wish them the best. We were nervous to start out. We are young and they are young and it’s the biggest game probably that any of them have played in. We both loosened up in the second half and both teams turned it on.”
The Miners seemed to open the game up in the second half with their athleticism, hustle and speed.
“That’s our game,” Coach Ball said. “We’re not much in the half court. We like to get up and down the court. We did a good job of that.”
Mingo Central came up with the two big defensive stops and both proved to be decisive.
Down 53-51 with 5.5 seconds to go in overtime, Chapmanville still had a chance to either send the game to a second OT or possibly win it with a 3-point shot.
The Lady Tigers inbounded the ball from underneath their basket after dribbling down court and calling timeout.
Chapmanville’s Graci Brumfield took the inbounds pass and attempted to hit Kaylee Blair in the paint. Her pass, however, was deflected by Mikazia Rhodes and Tyshira Joplin was able to reel in the ball. Joplin then dribbled the length of the court, running out the clock and Mingo Central’s celebration then ensued.
“They had some time absolutely. I thought that it might be going to double OT,” Coach Ball said. “We stepped up with our defense on the last plays of the game and I’m real proud of them.”
Another big defensive play by Mingo Central late in regulation was also huge.
With the game tied at 44 in the closing seconds, Chapmanville looked to possibly get the game-winner but Madison Webb’s shot was blocked in the paint by Mingo Central’s 6-foot-1 freshman center Katie Ball at the buzzer.
Ball had come up with the shot of the game only moments before as she drilled a huge corner 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, tying the game up at 44 and later setting up the overtime.
“I have to give my niece some love,” Coach Ball said of Katie Ball. “That blocked shot might just have saved us.”
CRHS first-year-coach Johnny Williamson said his team played very hard but came up just short.
“I believe my girls played as hard as possible,” he said. “We gave everything we had but our youth showed. Kara Browning being in foul trouble hurt us. Mingo played a really good game.”
The Miners held leads of four points three different times in overtime.
Down four, Webb pulled Chapmanville to within 52-50 with 46 ticks to go as she canned a 17-foot jumper.
Chapmanville’s Taylor Manns then cut it to 52-51 with 16.6 seconds left after she split from the free throw line.
Ball then gave Mingo Central a 53-51 lead with 11.4 ticks remaining as she split a pair of foul shots.
Joplin led the Miners with 18 points, while Xziah Rhodes had 17. Ball had eight and Cassidy Cline had six points on a couple of 3-point shots. Kylee Varney had four points.
Chapmanville was paced by Webb’s 15 points. Freshman point guard Olivia Dalton had 12, while Blair had 10, Brumfield nine and Manns and Kara Browning had three each.
The game was tied 9-9 after one quarter and was knotted up at 17 at halftime.
The Lady Tigers led by as many as six points at 15-9 in the second quarter.
Mingo Central, however, came storming back. After back-to-back 3s by Cline it was tied at 15.
The Miners went up two but Manns was able to tie it at 17 with a putback in the lane with five seconds left until the intermission.
In the see-saw third quarter the game was tied at 19 and Browning later put CRHS ahead 22-21 with a trey at the 5:06 mark.
Mingo Central then took a 28-24 lead after a Joplin 3 and a stickback by the senior guard.
Chapmanville bounced back to regain the lead at 29-28 after Brumfield completed an old-fashioned three-play with 2:10 to go.
The lead then traded hands two more times before Dalton’s 3 gave Chapmanville a 34-30 lead after three quarters of play.
The Lady Tigers ran its lead out to 36-30 with a Blair bucket at the 7:46 mark and Chapmanville looked to be on their way to a sectional championship.
Mingo Central then rallied, tying it up at 36 with an Xziah Rhodes three-point play and a Rhodes putback.
Chapmanville led 40-38 with Webb’s 18-footer but the Miners went back on top with a 3 by Rhodes with 3:19 left in regulation.
Blair’s inside-the-paint hoop with 2:24 left made it 42-41 CRHS and Dalton’s two clutch free throws pushed the lead to 44-41 with 1:39 to go.
Chapmanville freshman Brumfield then missed two foul shots with 38.5 seconds left and that set the table for Ball, who canned the corner 3 to tie it up at 44 and later sending the game to OT with her big blocked shot.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner.