CHARMCO, W.Va. (WVDN) – Following a feverish fourth quarter, Greenbrier West captured the school’s first sectional championship since the 2002 season, when they defeated the defending champion Webster County Highlanders 47-46 in front of a packed house. Maddy Fields hit the game-winning three pointer with 14 seconds remaining to cap an 11-point fourth quarter comeback that clinched the title for the Cavaliers.
Webster County defeated coach Mark Agee’s young Cavalier squad 59-31 for the 2022 sectional crown last February. Largely following the same 2022 script, the Highlanders relied on the scoring of all-state standout Sydney Baird to build a 4-point halftime lead. Baird had 15 first-half points, but the stats that popped out the most were the zero second quarter points from the Cavaliers.
After racing out to a 15-8 first quarter lead, the Cavalier shooting went ice cold. The Highlanders took advantage and clawed their way into the lead, outscoring the host Cavaliers 11-0 in the second quarter.
Webster County kept applying pressure in the third quarter with freshman Allie Key pouring in 6 points. Baird handled the ball the majority of the time for Webster County, dumping it off for easy baskets from Key, Emily Taylor and Hannah Wayne. Brilee Redden and Abigail Thomas kept the Cavaliers within reach with a pair of 3 pointers. Fields also knocked down a 3, and Preslee Treadway got in the scoring column with a drive and a layup. The Highlanders increased their lead to 9 by the end of the quarter at 36-27.
Greenbrier West had secured the home-court advantage in the sectional title tilt largely on a fourth quarter comeback they had executed against Webster County back on Jan. 31. The Cavaliers outscored the Highlanders 24-10 for a 68-62 victory in that contest despite a 35-point effort from Baird. Treadway matched Baird’s night with a 29-point explosion of her own. West would need more magic in the fourth quarter this time, but Baird was sitting on 21 points heading into the final frame, while Treadway had only a bucket to her credit.
After relying heavily on the 3 for the first three quarters, the Cavaliers began to attack the rim. A Baird basket put West in an 11-point hole with little over six minutes remaining. Fields provided the Cavaliers with a spark on a drive and a layup. Treadway started to find the basket on drives and short jumpers. West also converted on 3-point plays of the conventional sort, with Treadway scoring at the free throw line. Redden calmly knocked down a pair of foul shots and the Cavaliers were suddenly on the Highlanders’ heels. Barclay applied the pressure and tied the game with 1:44 remaining.
The crowd at John C. Estep Gymnasium was rocking. Baird, a savvy senior, kept West at bay with a pair of free throws. Treadway answered with a contested 10-foot jumper, knotting the score at 44-all with 37 seconds remaining. Baird wasted no time, drawing a foul on Redden at midcourt. Baird drilled both free throws, giving Webster a 2-point cushion.
The Cavaliers went to work with a little over 30 seconds left in regulation. Fields got the ball in the corner and drove the baseline. Fields tried to get the ball to Treadway, but the Highlanders were in position to lock the ball up with 21.9 left on the clock. The possession arrow saved the Cavaliers. Fields inbounded from the right side, tossing the ball into Barclay. Barclay paused before driving into the lane and skipping a pass on the right wing to Fields. Fields, 3 of 11 on 3-point attempts for the evening, stepped into the pass and let another 3 fly toward the basket. The momentary hush gave way to an eruption of cheers when Field’s basket dropped through for West’s first lead since midway through the second quarter.
The dramatics weren’t over yet. With 14 seconds remaining, Baird inbounded and got the ball back and sprang past three Cavalier defenders. Crossing over from left to right, Baird drove into the chest of Thomas and got a shot up. The rebound careened into the hands of Allie Key who was quickly fouled by Fields with 4.9 seconds left to play. Fields would foul out giving Key the chance to put the Highlanders in the lead. Key had struggled at the line going 0-3 from the free throw line on the night up to that point. Meagan Poticher, a senior post player that had been injured in the first meeting between the schools, replaced Fields in the lineup.
Poticher and Baird were hip to hip when Key missed both free throws. Poticher secured the rebound and pivoted with ball, forcing Baird to foul and stop the clock with one second remaining. The foul was Baird’s fifth and sent the senior to the bench. For all intents and purposes, the game was over with Poticher headed to the foul line 75 feet away from the Highlander basket. Poticher missed both attempts, and Emily Taylor pulled down the rebound. Webster County called an immediate timeout with 0.6 left on the clock. Out of the timeout, Ava Durham sent a pass to midcourt that was intercepted by Treadway, sealing the win for the Cavaliers.
The sectional championship was the first since Greenbrier West beat Oak Hill for the Class AA, Region IV, Section II title in 2002.
The Cavaliers will host River View on Thursday, March 2 at 7 p.m. in one of the two Region III Co-finals. The Raiders ended the Cavaliers 2022 season in the region co-final, but West owns two regular season wins over River View this year. Webster County travels to James Monroe in the other Region III Co-final.
Fields had 19 points and three rebounds in the win. Barclay added 10 points and three rebounds. Treadway had 9 points and six rebounds. Baird led the Highlanders with 27 points.
WC: 8 11 17 10 – 46
GW: 15 0 12 20 – 47
Webster County – Sydney Baird 27, Allie Key 8, Emily Taylor 5, Josie Mathes 4, Hannah Wayne 2. Totals: 17 12-26 46.
Greenbrier West – Maddy Fields 19, Ava Barclay 10, Preslee Treadway 9, Abigail Thomas 5, Brilee Redden 4. Totals: 17 6-12 47.
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