Spring Valley defeats Capital
CHARLESTON -- Following his team's 84-60 win over Capital in the Class AAA opening round of the Girls Basketball State Tournament, Spring Valley coach Bo Miller was asked what the difference was for the Timberwolves.
Miller offered a simple response.
"We relaxed," Miller said.
It seemed like a simple enough concept, but it was completely accurate as the Timberwolves settled into their normal game flow Tuesday night in the Charleston Civic Center with a pressure defense and attacking offense that took over in the second half of the victory.
With three sophomores and two seniors starting, Spring Valley's lineup is relatively young, and Miller expected nerves early in the contest.
Once that young lineup settled down, though, they were electric. The Timberwolves' large sophomore contingent accounted for 74 of the 84 points.
Spring Valley (23-3), who has won 23 of its last 24 games, put up a 49-point second half and capitalized on turnovers to turn a slim halftime lead into a blowout.
Madison Morris scored 18 of her game-high 27 points in the second half while adding 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
"I think once we got our nervousness out, we were good," Morris said. "We just played our game."
The game's catalyst was Spring Valley point guard Sarah Kelly, who set a Class AAA tournament record for steals with 10 while notching a triple-double in the process. Kelly's final line was 20 points, 12 assists (one shy of the Class AAA state tourney record), 10 steals and six rebounds.
Kelly said her and her teammates wanted to show why the Timberwolves are the No. 1 seed in Class AAA.
"It makes me mad that we've been a little overlooked, so I'm happy that we played well and had a good game," she said.
In the game's biggest juncture, Kelly came up huge against Capital.
The Cougars (10-14) led 25-22 midway through the second quarter, but Spring Valley ended the half on a 13-2 run to take momentum and an eight-point lead into the break.
Kelly provided the spark during the run with a 3-pointer and two steals that led to baskets and a 35-27 edge at halftime, which took some of the wind out of the underdog Cougars.
"You look at the scoreboard, we're up three and it's late in the quarter," Capital coach B.J. Calabrese said. "You're thinking let's just finish the quarter strong and we'll go in with the lead. We made a few mistakes on both ends that cost us -- a 3-point lead and suddenly, you look and you're down six, you're down eight."
With momentum, Spring Valley instantly went to work in the second half, outscoring Capital 24-13 in the third period with many points coming off turnovers and layups in transition.
In addition to Morris and Kelly, fellow sophomore Brooke Heck was big with 12 of her 16 points in the second half. She added eight rebounds and five steals.
Keke Walker led Capital (10-14) with 25 points, but the Cougars fell victim to 27 turnovers. Khadijah Lee also had 17 in the loss.
Spring Valley advances to the Class AAA semifinals where they will take on the winner of Thursday's 11:15 a.m. game between Princeton and Logan.
CAPITAL 10 17 13 20 -- 60: Wood 4, Harris 2, Crowder 4, Lee 17, Foster 4, Hairston 4, Walker 25.
SPRING VALLEY 13 22 24 25 -- 84: Kelly 20, Mac. Morris 5, Heck 16, Mad. Morris 27, Butcher 1, McGraw 2, Lemons 5, Ratcliff 4, Mathis 4.