Williamstown falls to Gilmer in sectional final

GLENVILLE – To say No. 2 Gilmer County head coach Amy Chapman didn’t use the fact that a loss in Friday night’s Class A Region IV, Section 1 final against No. 3 Williamstown meant a matchup with all-powerful No. 1 Huntington St. Joe in a regional co-final as motivation for her team would be inaccurate.

“I would be lying if I said we didn’t use the fact to push the girls a little harder in practice this week,” said Chapman. “We had been to their place two times in the last two seasons for the regional and really wanted to host a home game this year.”

Her Titan players left little doubt they had taken those words to heart after they claimed their first sectional title in 11 years with a 64-57 win over the Yellowjackets.

The blue and white started fast right out of the gate . The home team scored 15 of the first 22 points to grab an eight point advantage at the end of one. Carly Somerville paced the Titans in the stanza scoring eight of her 19 total markers. Not to be forgotten about, their visitors from Wood County found a shooting hand in the second period. A combined effort from Ashley Morris, Bethany Wager and Melissa Cieslewski brought the ‘Jackets back into the competition. Cieslewski’s jumper with just over two minutes left in the half got the maroon and yellow within two points.

It was the closest the visitors had been to the lead since falling behind 2-0 in the opening minute.

Gilmer regrouped and closed the half on a 7-4 run ignited by an Emilie Jedamski trey with just over a minute left in the period to go into the locker room up by five, 27-22.

Baskets by Jedamski, Somerville and Riley Fitzwater to open the thrid period pushed the lead up to nine coming out of halftime but the Titans didn’t get to enjoy the margin very long.

Williamstown’s Morris poured in four buckets in just under two minutes along with a jumper by Samantha Dedrick to cut the lead down to one with 4:30 left in the third.

“We knew we had to come out aggressive in the second half and apply some real pressure to Gilmer in order to get back in the game,” said Williamstown head man Fred Sauro. “Our pressure got us back into the game.”

The single digit was as close as the Yellowjackets would get the rest of the game as Somerville, Shuff and Fitzwater took command for the Titans and pushed the lead back up to 14 by the end of the period.

Fitzwater scored five of her 14 points in the period. The junior also grabbed a game-high 13 boards for a double-double and fell two blocks shy of a triple-double.

“They (Williamstown) really frustrated Riley the last time we played at the LKC Night of Champions,” said Chapman.

“They really held her in check scoring wise. Tonight she made her impact felt in all aspects of the game, not only on the defensive end but also on the boards and in the scoring column.”

Things turned physical in the final period of play. The Titans went to the line 22 times in the final period while Williamstown fouled often to stop keep the clock still.

The ‘Jackets got the lead down to nine at the 6:15 mark and kept exchanging single digits from their opponents with actual buckets.

The strategy slowly succeeded as the Fred Sauro-coached team chipped the lead down to three with 1:22 remaining in the game.

Unfortunately, the visiting team’s shooting hand went stone cold the rest of the way and their hosts drove the lead up to the final score.

“They (Gilmer) are a very good basketball team and I wish them the best of luck,” said Sauro. “They play with a lot of heart and they play hard for 32 minutes.”