No. 1 AAA Morgantown defeats No. 1 AA Wyoming East
Wyoming East (27) Vs. Morgantown (50)
Feb 04, 2016
for the Daily Telegraph
BECKLEY— There's a reason Morgantown is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Class AAA girls basketball.
The Mohigans do everything right.
They found the open man, took smart shots, blocked out and, above all, played gritty defense Thursday night to defeat Class AA No. 1 Wyoming East 50-27 in a first-round game of the Big Atlantic Classic at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
"Morgantown is a great team. They shot awfully well from the perimeter and they played really good defense on us," Warriors coach Angie Boninsegna said. "We were a little out of synch offensively.
Wyoming East (15-1) played most of the game without its standout playmaker and leader, sophomore point guard Gabby Lupardus, who was trying to return from an ankle injury. Morgantown (16-0) took advantage of her absence by making 15 steals and forcing the Warriors into 23 turnovers.
Lupardus, obviously favoring her ankle, played just four minutes. She did not score, although she made a tremendous one-handed, cross-court pass to a teammate while on the transition.
"(Lupardus) is a heck of a player. The state needs kids of that caliber on the court," Morgantown coach Jason White said. "She has the ability to get to the rim and she will share the basketball."
Wyoming East did a solid job in the first half, defensively, holding six Morgantown players to two points apiece, but trailed 24-12.
A seventh, guard Paige Poffensberger, had 12 first-half points on 4 of 6 shooting, including two 3s.
"Poffenberger was knocking down those shots and making their zone extend," White said. "They had to come out, and (Saunders) couldn’t stay under the rim anymore. That’s what opened it up for the second half."
Meanwhile, the Warriors took just 14 shots in the half, making three.
Also in the first half, Wyoming East's 6-foot-4 freshman center Emily Saunders blocked six shots and grabbed seven rebounds.
Morgantown neutralized her somewhat in the second half.
"A girl like that is such an advantage to put down there and protect the rim. She did a great job of timing (blocks) and not fouling us. She’s a heck of a player. She’s going to be tremendous," White said. "The second half we did a good job of drawing her away from the rim and making that extra pass to a cutter to the rim. That cutter finishing helped. We tried to use her aggressiveness against her."
The Mohigans finished with 42.9 percent shooting and had 13 assists. Wyoming East, on the other hand, hit just seven of 28 shots.
Poffenberger led Morgantown with 14 points, followed by Shelby Boyle with eight and Sydney Holloway with seven. Rachel Laskody had seven rebounds and four assists while Holloway grabbed five boards. The Mohigans won the battle of the boards 34-26.
"We were really patient. We took good looks, and for the most part we made open shots," White said.
Junior guard Megan Davis led Wyoming East with nine points. Saunderscontributed eight points, eight blocks and 11 rebounds.
"You could tell we had a week off from our last game. We had hard practices, but we didn’t react well to their defense," Boninsegna said.
Wyoming East will play Capital at 2 p.m. today in a consolation game. Last year the Warriors bounced back from a first-round BAC loss to St. Albans with a 30-point win over Brooke. Boninsegna is confident they'll again put the loss behind them.
"I wish Gabby would have been 100 percent and we could have seen how we would match up, but that’s life," Boninsegna said. "We’ll go back to the drawing board and keep learning. We’ll bounce back."
Morgantown will face Greenbrier East at 7:20 p.m. today in one of two girls championship games. Afterward, the Mohigans will head north for a 10 a.m. game at Parkersburg South on Saturday.
"Greenbrier East, then Parkersburg South within 13 hours. But we can't worry about South. Our full attention will be on Greenbrier East," White said. "You don't get to be undefeated at this point in the season without being a quality basketball team. They can shoot, and they have a big inside. We'll have to be aggressive in how we attack her."

Rachel Laskody 2 0-2 4, Sydney Holloway 3 1-2 7, Paige Poffenberger 5 2-3 14, Lydia Adrian 1 2-2 4, Shelby Boyle 4 0-0 8, Olivia Sokos 1 0-0 2, Aliyssa Neal 3 0-0 6, Fallon Nicholson 2 0-0 5. Totals: 21 5-11 50.
Megan Davis 2 4-6 9, Misa Quessenberry 0 2-4 2, Jasmine Blankenship 1 1-2 3, Emily Saunders 3 2-5 8, Allie Lusk 0 3-4 3, Kara Sandy 1 0-2 2, Kelsey Green 0 0-2 0, Haley Butcher 0 0-1 0. Totals: 7 12-26 27.
Morgantown.......12 12 9 17 — 50
Wyoming East.......6 6 13 2 — 27
3-point goals: WE: 1 (Davis); M: 3 (Poffenberger 2, Nicholson. Fouled out: Davis (WE).

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Wyoming East 6 6 13 2 0 27
Morgantown 12 12 9 17 0 50
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