Short stay not Lady Chargers’ choice
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
MURFREESBORO — Proud, but not satisfied.
Those were the prevailing sentiments of Westview head coach Sean Stephenson after his seventh-ranked Westview club was beaten and ousted from the Class 2A girls’ state semifinals via a 61-48 loss to No. 5 Elizabethton Thursday.
“We’re not content with just getting here,” Stephenson said immediately after the loss that ended the Lady Chargers’ season at 29-7. “Yes, it’s an accomplishment to make it to the state tournament.
“Our goal will always be greater than just to make it, though.”
Westview’s plans to hang around past the first round of this year’s event were derailed by the play of Elizabethton freshman Kayla Marosites, who had 25 of her game-high 30 points in the second half and missed a double-double by just one rebound.
“She did a good job on the boards and really just attacking and creating,” Stephenson said of the Lady Cyclone ninth-grader, who was in the lineup only because of a rash of injuries suffered by the Elizabethton program that saw three players felled by season-ending injuries.
Marosites scored Elizabethton’s first 15 points in the second half, including all 10 of her team’s markers in the third period.
Equally damaging to Westview’s hopes was another frosh — Melinda Perry — who sank three first-half 3-pointers to keep the Lady Chargers from building on what was twice a five-point lead.
“That was unexpected from the information we had. If she doesn’t make those, we’re looking at maybe being up by 10,” Stephenson added.
Likely the capper to Westview’s ultimate downfall was a 111⁄2-minute stretch to open the second half when Martin went 1-of-8 from the field and committed four of their nine turnovers. During that span, the Lady Chargers went from down 27-26, to a 46-33 deficit via a 19-7 Elizabethton flurry.
Westview, which made just 2-of-15 from beyond the arc, saw Marosites hit three times from long distance during its telling run to cap a Lady Cyclones’ 8-for-22 effort from 3-point range.
“We got out of rhythm for some reason there in the third quarter,” continued Stephenson, who took his team to Murfreesboro for the third time in his eight-year tenure. “We seemed hesitant at times, and when we had open looks and good looks, we just couldn’t knock them down.
“Execution is at a premium when you get to this level. We didn’t do some things that we’ve done all year when we had the chances and we didn’t respond to some of the things they did in the second half.”
The Lady Chargers, who had beaten Elizabethton in a last second thriller at the same juncture in 2009, led 13-12 at the first-quarter horn after Teddy Vincent’s two free throws with 3.8 seconds left. Two times (17-12 and 19-14), Martin went up by five when sisters Kaley and Kendall Leyhue each scored in the first 31⁄2 minutes of the second stanza.
Consecutive buckets by Vincent — the last with just more than two minutes left before halftime — left Westview up 23-20.
Elizabethton, which lost to CPA in the semifinals, scored seven of the half’s final 10 points, though, taking a lead for the first time since late in the first period and one they would never again relinquish when Perry sank the last of her treys with a half-minute left until intermission.
“Again, I really thought we had some opportunities in the first half to build a nice lead,” Stephenson added. “I thought we got a little rushed there in the third quarter and, maybe because we didn’t have a cushion, the things we didn’t do were magnified.”
Vincent, the High Point University signee, closed out her stellar prep career with a team-high 24 points — 14 in the first half and 10 over the final two quarters. No other Lady Charger scored in double digits, though Tiffany Rechis was just a deuce away with eight.
Seniors Kaitlyn Harrelson (3 points) and Katelyn Luthi (2) also played their final game in a WHS uniform, while classmate Jasmine Howard, a starter and critical member of the team before suffering a season-ending knee injury in January, dressed and sat on the Westview bench for the last time.
“Obviously, we’d have loved to had Jasmine. We’re a much different team with her,” Stephenson concluded. “Teddy’s body of work for her career speaks for itself, and both Kaitlyn and Katelyn stepped up in the second half of the year when their playing time increased and their roles changed and did great jobs.”
Published in The WCP 3.12.13