The Mad Mac attack
SPRING VALLEY -- Most teenage sisters who are close in age talk with each other often.
They'll talk about other girls in school -- whether they like them or don't -- and they'll talk about other boys in school, too, for the same reasons.
Spring Valley basketball players Mackenzie Morris and Madison Morris are not your average sisters, however.
Over the last two years, one topic has dominated their conversation.
That topic? Making it to the state tournament in Charleston and winning a Class AAA title.
On Tuesday night, sophomore Madison Morris played a big part in giving her senior sister the best present she could in her final game at the Wolves Den.
Madison Morris scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Spring Valley (22-3) to the Class AAA, Region IV championship with a 70-47 win over Winfield.
"I've been looking forward to this all season," Mackenzie Morris said. "We set it as our goal to make it to the state championships and we did it. We made our first goal, which was to make the state tournament, and now we have a full week to get ready for our first game."
After the win, Mackenzie jumped into the arms of fellow senior Emily Butcher and then posed for pictures with Madison and her parents while not taking the smile off of her face the entire time.
The conversations about making the state tournament started at the beginning of last year when the Timberwolves made a ton of noise around the state.
However, midway through the season, Mackenzie tore her anterior cruciate ligament and was lost for the rest of the year.
Spring Valley then fell one game shy of its ultimate goal with a loss in the regional final to South Charleston.
After an extensive rehab process, Mackenzie returned to the starting lineup with Madison this season and the Timberwolves are ranked No. 2 in the state.
In one of the most memorable seasons in Spring Valley history, there were only a couple of things left to do -- one being advance to the state tournament together.
Madison said it served as motivation for Tuesday night's performance.
"I was just thinking the whole time, I have to do this for her. She's my motivation," Madison said. "It feels awesome and it's real big that I could do that for her, but it's not over. We still have to practice and get ready for next week."
The trip to Charleston is Spring Valley's first since 2003, and early in Tuesday's contest with the Generals, the nerves of trying to accomplish the great feat were visible.
Winfield took a 9-8 lead after a first quarter when Spring Valley hit just 2-of-19 shots from the field.
Spring Valley coach Bo Miller even pulled Madison Morris for a quick span midway through the first quarter to serve as a wake-up call to his sophomore post leader.
"I had to take her out in the first quarter because I didn't think she was playing very assertive," Miller said. "She spent a little time over here and she came out a lot more assertive and really took over the game from there."
It was the third quarter in which Madison Morris was at her best, scoring 15 of her 27 points as the Timberwolves nearly doubled a 14-point halftime lead.
In addition to the memories made with the win, Mackenzie Morris netted 11 points in her final contest in front of the home crowd.
Spring Valley also got 10 points from Jordan Ratcliff while point guard Sarah Kelly fell just three points shy of a triple-double, finishing with seven points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Winfield, which finished the season with a 12-13 record, had 15 points from Haeley Moore while Mara Rhoades added 11.
Because of inclement weather in some parts of the state, some of the regional finals in Class AAA were postponed on Tuesday and will be made up Wednesday and Thursday. Pairings for the Class AAA state tournament March 6-9 in the Charleston Civic Center are expected to be announced Friday morning.
WINFIELD 9 9 14 15 -- 47: Moore 15, Rhoades 11, Thompson 6, Arthur 6, Eggleton 4, Passero 2, Sawyers 2, Pauley 1.
SPRING VALLEY 8 24 27 11 -- 70: Mad. Morris 27, Mac. Morris 11, Radcliff 10, Kelly 7, Heck 5, McGraw 5, Petry 2, Mathis 2, Lemons 1.