Lady Cats rally past Wahama, 32-28

By Bryan Walters -

Hannan senior Madison Staggs (13) dribbles past Wahama defender Lizzy Mullins during the second half of Thursday night’s non-conference girls basketball contest in Ashton, W.Va.

Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

ASHTON, W.Va. — The Lady Cats are loving the holiday break.

After knocking off Green for its first win of the season just days before Christmas, the Hannan girls basketball team picked up an early New Year’s present Thursday night following a 32-28 victory over visiting Wahama in a non-conference matchup of Mason County programs.

The host Lady Cats (2-7) now own a winning streak after overcoming a seven-point third quarter deficit, thanks in large part to a defensive effort that limited the Lady Falcons (1-8) to just 4-of-26 shooting in the second half.

Hannan – which committed 14 of its 24 turnovers in the second half – still managed to put together a 19-8 surge over the final 14:52 of regulation, allowing the Blue and White to secure their first home win of the year.

Neither team shot better than 25 percent from the field and only three of the combined 22 trifecta tries found the bottom of the net. WHS also committed 15 turnovers in the setback, including six of those in the final period of play.

The biggest difference in the contest, however, proved to come from the free throw line. HHS connected on 11-of-29 free throw attempts for 38 percent, including a 6-of-16 effort in the final stanza.

The Lady Falcons, conversely, netted 4-of-17 charity tosses for 24 percent, including a mere 2-of-13 effort in the second half.

It was far from a perfect evening, but HHS coach Kellie Thomas was excited to see how well her troops responded after making some changes at the break.

“We really didn’t have an answer for the offense they were running in the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and we were fortunate to be able to shut them down for the most part,” Thomas said. “The important thing tonight is that we never gave up. We were down seven early in the third quarter, but we kept battling and stepped it up when it was most needed. It’s a big win for us and I’m proud of every one of them.”

The start was exactly what WHS coach John Arnott was looking for, but the second half proved to be a little more nerve-racking for the second-year mentor.

“We played really well in the first half, but it was like we just fell down and never picked ourselves up in the second half,” Arnott said. “We stopped attacking the basket, we missed way too many layups and we just didn’t put points on the board. We had opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”

Both teams traded leads in the opening four minutes of play, but the Lady Falcons received back-to-back trifectas from Hannah Rose that turned a 6-5 deficit into an 11-6 edge with 2:07 remaining in the frame.

Pammie Ochs netted a trifecta at the 1:42 mark, which allowed Hannan to close to within 11-9 after one period of play.

Both teams struggled to find the basket in the second quarter as the hosts made just 1-of-12 attempts, while Wahama went 3-of-18 in that same time span.

Maddy VanMatre gave the Lady Falcons their largest lead of the first half at 15-9 following a basket at the 4:02 mark, but Hannan responded with four consecutive points before VanMatre scored again with 25 seconds left – allowing the Red and White to secure a 17-13 edge at the intermission.

VanMatre sank a free throw and then hit a basket at the 6:53 mark of the third, which extended the Wahama lead out to 20-13 with 6:53 remaining.

The Lady Cats, however, answered with a 9-2 surge over the next five-plus minutes as a Julie Frazier basket at the 1:18 mark tied the game at 22 all.

Madison Staggs came up with a basket 50 seconds later, which ultimately led to a 24-22 HHS advantage headed into the finale. From that point on, Hannan never relinquished the lead.

VanMatre capped a small 3-2 WHS run with a free throw at the 4:54 mark of the fourth, which cut the deficit down to 26-25. The guests were ultimately never closer the rest of the way as they missed their next 11 shot attempts.

The Lady Cats responded with a 6-1 run as Staggs capped the rally with two free throws with 17.6 remaining, allowing the hosts to secure their largest lead of the night at 32-26.

Rose hit a basket with five seconds left to wrap up the four-point outcome.

Hannan outrebounded the guests by a 35-29 overall margin, with both teams hauling in nine offensive caroms.

The Lady Cats connected on 10-of-40 shot attempts for 25 percent, including a 1-of-9 effort from three-point range for 11 percent.

Frazier led HHS with 10 points, followed by Staggs with eight points and Maggie Waugh with six markers. Ochs was next with three points, while Cassidy Duffer and Josie McCoy each contributed two markers.

Bailey Tolliver rounded out the winning tally with a single point. McCoy also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds, while Staggs and Waugh each pulled down eight boards.

The Lady Falcons made 11-of-55 shot attempts for 20 percent, including a 2-of-13 effort from behind the arc for 15 percent. The guests also missed their last 10 trifecta tries.

Rose paced WHS with a game-high 14 points, followed by Madddy VanMatre with a double-double effort of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Nena Hunt and Lizzy Mullins rounded out the guests’ tally with two points and one point, respectively. Mullins, Rose and Lexi Layne also hauled in four caroms apiece in the setback.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Hannan senior Madison Staggs (13) dribbles past Wahama defender Lizzy Mullins during the second half of Thursday night’s non-conference girls basketball contest in Ashton, W.Va. senior Madison Staggs (13) dribbles past Wahama defender Lizzy Mullins during the second half of Thursday night’s non-conference girls basketball contest in Ashton, W.Va. Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters