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Williamstown pulls away from Webster County

Williamstown’s Nicole Reynolds pushes the tempo on a fast break while Webster County’s Sydney Baird runs beside her during the Yellowjackets’ 60-45 win over the Highlanders Wednesday in Williamstown. Photo by Joe Albright

WILLIAMSTOWN — Visiting Webster County hung tough with Williamstown through two quarters in the Little Kanawha Conference fifth place game Tuesday night, but once the Yellowjackets started running in the third quarter it was all over.

Just like that, the Highlanders couldn’t keep up as Fred Sauro and company hit four 3s and outscored their guests 24-13 during a 60-45 victory. Coach Sharon Baird’s bunch went through an early period scoring drought and then punched back at the end of the quarter, but it was too late. The damage was done and the Yellowjackets coasted to pick up their sixth straight victory.

Nicole Reynolds scored 15 points, Jayla Wiseman and Lakyn Joy tacked on 12 more and the Jackets received a game-high 10 rebounds from Sophie Folwell in an all-around team effort. His group also dished out eight assists and outrebounded the Highlanders, 34-28.

Sauro was very impressed with his team’s turnaround after they weren’t hitting the boards, plus was playing some spotty defense in the first half.

“We moved the ball better and got better shots in the second half and said we had to keep running. We have three or four kids who have seasonal allergies like hay fever but they came out and weren’t feeling good and they came out to compete and in the second half they really turned it on,” Sauro said of his ‘Jackets, who have played 10 games in 15 days, including a visit from St. Marys on Monday, who received a first-place vote in the most recent Class AA Associated Press poll and rival Wheeling Central.

The pull away began immediately after the teams exited the locker room after halftime. Reynolds hit the ‘Jackets’ first two treys of the period, sandwiched around shots from Wiseman, Joy, and Folwell during a 14-2 run. Webster’s lone bucket during the sequence came from Little Kanawha Conference scoring leader Sydney Baird.

Overall, the sophomore scored 24 of the Highlanders’ points, but was well off her season average of 31.6 points per game – something Sauro was also pleased with.

“She is the real deal man, she is the real deal,” he said. “I thought we did a good job guarding her and staying in front of her but she can create a shot anytime she wants.”

Baird did find some room in the fourth quarter. She scored 12 of the Highlanders points. Joining her in double-digits for Webster was Natalie Snyder, who hit four treys on the evening.

The second half did not play out how Sharon envisioned after the Highlanders came out with high energy in the opening half.

“I got a little worried when we started slowing down and didn’t keep our intensity up like we did in the first half, because we stayed with them, but then comes the second half and we just kind of had a letdown,” Baird said.

Webster deficit was just six points, 14-8, after one period of play. That only grew by four points in the second quarter, even as the Highlanders went through a stretch where they missed seven straight shots. Baird finally ended the misfortune, but Webster’s chances for more damage were limited. They only got five more shot attempts in the last three minutes.

Meanwhile, Williamstown’s trio went to work and staked their group to a 24-18 halftime lead. With this game out of the way, the Yellowjackets now have a bit of a break before a Monday meeting at Wirt County. Sauro indicated, even as other teams around the state announced they would take a break until the sectional tournament, that the Jackets will play the Tigers and Wahama, or the final two games of their regular season.

“If they want to play, we are going to play. Wahama only has five or six kids, so who knows what is going to happen there, but we are going to give the kids some time off this week and then play and we are going to have some practice but suit up and play,” he said.

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