Waterford’s Alli Kern named BACF Ohio MVP in girls victory over West Virginia

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Bethany Wager, left, handles the ball as Warren’s Peyton Bowe defends during Friday’s BACF All-Star Basketball Classic at Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

PARKERSBURG — The Ohio girls snapped a three-game BACF (Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis) Basketball Classic losing streak to West Virginia, outscoring their counterparts 53-41 in the second half to break open a close game en route to a 101-91 victory Friday night that reduced their series deficit to just a 9-8 margin.

Before a near-packed house at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center in the second half, Ohio — behind 50-48 at halftime — used a 25-21 third quarter in its favor to surge ahead 73-71, then a 28-20 margin in the fourth quarter to push out to the 10-point win.

Leading the way for Ohio were MVP Alli Kern from Waterford with 18 points, Warren’s Emily Jackson with 19 and Fairland’s Emily Chapman with 20, while for West Virginia, MVP Jaden McDaniels from St. Albans netted 20 points, followed by Bethany Wager of Williamstown with 14 and Hanna McClung of Buckhannon-Upshur with 11.

In the opening period, the lead went back and forth, but by no more than four points either way, and ended up tied at 23-all.

The second stanza saw West Virginia jump on top 31-23 with an 8-0 burst to start, sparked by 3-balls from Wager and McDaniels.

But Ohio got back within three points twice in the final 1:09 on baskets by Megan Ball (Waterford) and Kern before Chapman sank two free throws to knock the gap down to only two at intermission.

The third quarter found Ohio, after an early 52-52 deadlock, take the lead for good on a 9-0 spurt to grab a eight-point lead at 62-54 that became a double-digit bulge, 66-56, at 5:34 on Frontier’s Kylie Daugherty’s bucket. Then a trey from Daugherty and another Kern hoop made it a 13-point lead, 71-58, at 3:33 before West Virginia rallied right back behind Lauren Bennett (Buckhannon-Upshur) and McDaniels to close to 71-65 and 73-67 before two Allie Taylor (Parkersburg South) free throws and two more charity tosses by Amanda Reynolds (Tyler Consolidated) at 3.6 seconds made it a two-point tilt at 73-71 going to quarter 4.

It was still just a deuce apart when Ohio got going again to lead 84-74 on a Taylar Wilson (Fairland) trey, followed by a Hayley Duff (Waterford) 3-ball and two Kern foul shots with 7:27 to play.

West Virginia, though, was not done just yet, clawing back to within five at 86-81 on two Wager free throws, only to watch Ohio storm back to go ahead by 10 again at 91-81 with 4:44 left and the hosts never got any closer than seven again.

For Ohio head coach Jerry Close of Waterford, this was his fourth BACF game, and he said that “every time I’ve done this, it’s been a good experience. They do such a wonderful job putting this on, and it’s for such a good cause — that’s what makes it all worthwhile. The stands were full — that just shows the support that the community’s given to this benefit is really good.”