The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 1, 2013

Lady Spartans move to 12-0

BECKLEY — Early in its Big Atlantic Classic upper bracket semifinal with St. Albans, Greenbrier East looked like anything but the No. 1 Class AAA team in the state.

The Spartans were rusty. They played sluggishly. Their shots weren’t falling, and all-stater Bianca André had rarely touched the ball.

The Red Dragons, on the other hand, were running the floor and getting inspired play from forward Breanna Propst. An 8-0 run early in the second quarter put them ahead 18-16.

East coach Jim Justice dug deep into his bag of defensive tricks and pulled out a winner.

“The game was dull. Slow,” he said. “So we went into a three quarter-court man trap, and when we got into that, it all changed.”

And how.

The Spartans went on a 14-2 run to close out the second quarter and rolled to a 69-39 victory.

Senior forward Chaunté McDowell, the team’s leader, came up big. She hit two 3-point shots to keep the Spartans close in the first quarter, then turned her attention to Propst.

“Chaunté will get into your face,” Justice said. “She’s our best defender.”

Propst finished with 23 points, but had to work for each of them. Meanwhile, her teammates drove time and again into the Spartans’ trap.

East forced St. Albans into 12 first-half turnovers and 25 for the game.

“The bottom line is we turned the ball over too many times,” Red Dragons coach Scott James said. “We had 25 turnovers, and that’s 25 times we didn’t get a chance to score.”

André finally began finding the range on her shot, and finished with a game-high 21 points, along with six rebounds.

McDowell had 11 points in the opening half and 13 for the game. She also had five assists and three steals

“When the defense started shadowing her, things started opening up for the others, and here we go,” Justice said.

While no one stood out offensively, East got points from a lot of players, including guard Elizabeth Romeo and reserve center CeCe Grant with six apiece, and five from both guard Chloe Honaker and forward Maddie Carroll.

Besides Propst’s 23 points and 10 rebounds, St. Albans received eight points from Katelyn Fields. No one else scored more than four points.

“Our girls played hard, but they have to play four quarters of basketball playing the way they should play,” James said. “We’ve got to get our heads up going to basket more.”

The Red Dragons will play Westside at 9 a.m. Saturday in a consolation game.

Greenbrier East will face University at 5:40 in the championship game.

“I give the girls all the credit in the world,” Justice said. “They’ve just kept working and working.

“We’re not super-strong inside, but we have a lot of hustle.”

— E-mail: dstillwell

St. Albans (8-8)

Torri Wilson 1-4 0-3 2, Breanna Propst 8-18 7-13 23, Kaitlyn Propst 0-4 2-2 2, Addison Oliver 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Davis 2-3 0-4 4, Leie Cooper 0-2 0-0 0, Savanna Saunders 0--0 0-0 0, Katelyn Fields 3-4 0-0 8, Zoei Kirk 0-0 0-0 0, Heather Mellinger 0-0 0-0 0, Kasey Burke 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 14-38 9-22 39.

Greenbrier East (12-0)

Chloe Honaker 2-9 0-0 5, Elizabeth Romeo 3-12 0-1 6, Chaunté McDowell 4-7 2-3 13, Bianca André 6-10 7-8 21, Maddie Carroll 1-2 3-6 5, Kristyn Talbott 0-1 0-0 0, Victoria Krystynak 1-4 0-0 2, Taylor Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Kat Walton 1-2 0-0 2, Lexi Tincher 2-4 0-0 4, Caitland Boggs 0-1 0-1 0, CeCe Grant 3-4 0-0 6, Kaitlyn MIze 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 23-57 13-21 65.

SA    10    12    6    11    —    39

GE    15    17    16    17    —    65

3-point goals — SA: 2 (Fields 2) ; GE: 6 (McDowell 3, Andre, Honaker). Fouled out — none.

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