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Spring Valley coach wants girls to learn from HHS loss

Dec. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Things looked pretty good on paper for the Spring Valley girls basketball team. The Timberwolves entered Saturday's showdown against Huntington High 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.

On the court was a different story. The No. 7 Highlanders (5-1) used a 22-0 run to turn a 40-35 deficit into a 57-42 lead after three quarters and went on to win, 72-64, on the home floor of the Timberwolves.

"At 7-0 we're getting to feel pretty good about ourselves," Spring Valley coach Bo Miller said. "People are telling us how good we are. We found out different tonight. Huntington made us pay."

Highlanders coach Lonnie Lucas was whistled for a technical early in the third period. Two free throws by Madison Morris and a basket by Sarah Kelly put Spring Valley on top, 40-35. Euphoria on the Spring Valley side. Quiet on the Huntington High side. Then the meltdown.

"Our ball handling was awful tonight," Miller said, aware his team had more than 20 turnovers. "They played with a lot more heart. We stand around, they go get the ball. Our girls got outplayed in every facet of the game. One thing I don't usually get on them about is hustle. We got outhustled tonight."

Prior to Saturday, each team had Logan as a common opponent. The Wildcats beat Huntington, 62-54, on their home floor. The Timberwolves knocked off Logan at home, 75-68.

Look for the intensity level to go up at practice Monday as the Timberwolves prepare to take on Morgantown on Jan. 3 and reigning West Virginia Class A champ Huntington St. Joe on Jan. 8. Both will be at home.

"We've got some things to fix," Miller said.

Morris reached a milestone Saturday, but the loss took away a bit from the moment. She made two free throws with 32.1 seconds left in the first period to reach 1,000 points for her career. She finished with a team high 24.

"I think she'd trade the 1,000 for the win," Miller said. "She's worked hard for this. She deserves it."

Freshman Jordyn Dawson led the young Highlanders (no senior starters) with 24 points. She came in with an 11.6 average.

"It's too early about a message," Lucas said when asked where the Highlanders stand after the win. "Both teams are going to get better."

Huntington High also has two challenges ahead when it resumes play in 2014. Hurricane visits on Jan. 6 and the Highlanders go to unbeaten Cabell Midland on Jan. 8.

EXPERIENCE AT THE TOP: River Valley High School has not one but two former college coaches leading their basketball programs in 2013-14. For the girls, former Marshall University women's coach Sarah Evan-Moore leads the Raiders. Former University of Rio Grande men's assistant Aaron Quinn directs the boys. Both are first-year high school head coaches who played college ball. Evans-Moore played at Stanford. Quinn played at Ohio University and Rio Grande.

OUT OF ACTION: Fairland football/basketball standout Chance Short sat out a Saturday basketball game against Wheelersburg because of a concussion. Short is expected back in the lineup Friday when the Dragons visit Chesapeake.

MORE FOOTBALL: Fairview's Anthony Roark has been invited to participate in the Kentucky-Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl on Jan. 11 at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder played both right tackle and defensive tackle for the Eagles this year.

WAY TO FINISH: University's Amelia Paladino capped a brilliant senior season with an 11th place finish at the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships held Dec. 14 at Balboa Park in San Diego. The finish gives her All-American status. It's the top finish at Footlocker Nationals for a West Virginia female. Paladino's time of 17:45 put her less than 3 seconds away from sixth place.

David Walsh is a member of The Herald-Dispatch sports department. Call him at 304-526-2730 or email dwalsh@heralddispatch.com.