The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 11, 2012

Summers to battle Skyhawks

Summers County vs. Scott, Part 2.

West Virginia’s most competitive Class AA girls basketball rivalry continues tonight at Hinton, when the third-ranked, five-time defending state champion Bobcats host the No. 1 Skyhawks at 7:30 p.m.

Summers is looking to avenge a 72-55 loss Jan. 14 in Madison that ended its state-record 105-game winning streak.

“We were very stagnant in that game,” coach Wayne Ryan said. “About the only offense we could get in that game was from Candace (Brown).”

Brown, the nation’s leading scorer with a 37.5 average (according to maxpreps.com) tallied 39 points and 11 rebounds against the Skyhawks. No one else managed double figures.

Summers had beaten Scott nine consecutive times, including the last two state tournament finals and two other times at states.

The Skyhawks’ fans filled the house back in January for the game with the Bobcats.

“Scott had a great crowd, and they had a bone to pick,” Ryan said. “They were hungry and very determined. In a lot of ways, it was a ‘perfect storm’ for them and they took care of business.”

The Skyhawks had their running game in high gear. Senior Makenzie White, who along with Brown is considered the state’s top player of the year candidates, scored 27 points and had 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

Jaime Dotson added 18 points and Julie Conway 11 for Scott.

“We did not keep Makenzie out of the lane,” Ryan said. “When she gets in the lane, she’s going to score, get fouled or give somebody a good shot.”

Scott is currently 16-1, coming off a 46-30 win Monday at Herbert Hoover. They edged PikeView 55-54 last week.

Since losing to Scott, the 14-5 Bobcats have fallen twice to AAA No. 8 Princeton and to AA No. 2 Westside.

They beat PikeView by just two points, 62-60, Jan. 26 at Hinton, but stunned the crowd Thursday night at Gardner with a 78-52 victory.

Brown scored 37 points, and received some offensive help from center Brandy Morrison (11 points) and guards Haley Shrewsbury (9) and Avery Pivont (8).

“We got contributions from a lot of different players,” Ryan said. “We showed some improvement with our defensive focus and communication. I hope that will continue.”

Unfortunately, the Bobcats absorbed some injuries in the contest. Junior point guard Tyra Wynes reinjured a shoulder that has hampered her all season, and Shrewsbury got hit with a knee.

“I don’t know if they will play (against Scott) or not,” Ryan said. “They couldn’t practice (Friday).

“We could be pretty thin, and if they do play, they won’t be a hundred percent.”

After three straight 28-0 seasons, it’s been a tough campaign for Summers. Two other players, longtime backup center Brooke Edwards and forward Kelsey Surber, suffered shoulder injuries and are lost for the season.

Undaunted, Ryan welcomes tonight’s rematch.

“We’re certainly going to come out and compete, and see what’s what,” he said. “Although I have concerns for the health of my team, we’ve improved since the first game with Scott.

“We’ll throw up the ball and see what happens.”

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