AM
Hopes dimmed
Princeton (49) Vs. South Charleston (77)
Mar 01, 2016
By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
SOUTH CHARLESTON — A bright hope flickered for the Princeton Senior High girls basketball team early in Tuesday night's regional final game. The talent of the South Charleston Black Eagles burned brightly, though, the rest of the way.
The Tigerettes' season came to an end with South Charleston's 77-49 win in the Class AAA, Region 3 final on the Black Eagles' home court. Point guard Aaliyah Dunham hit seven 3-point shots and ended the night with 32 points for the winners.
"Their little point guard is so good," said Princeton head coach Charles "Moose" Angell. "We felt, coming in, we couldn't play a lot of press and open up the court for her. So we just decided we were going to sit back in a zone and try to make them beat us outside. The first half, it worked real well."
The first few minutes were like a dream come true for Princeton. Senior guard Danielle Hall hit three straight baskets, personally providing the Tigerettes with a 7-1 lead against the Kanawha Valley powerhouse.
"It gave us a lot of confidence," Hall said.
Senior Adrianna Mitchem said, "I was, like, 'Guys, keep this up. We can actually win this. Don't ever give up. Anything can happen.' "
"I kind of challenged them," Angell said about his team. "I said, listen, this is your turn. This is your opportunity. ... Let's take advantage of it. And they came out, and they did. But they (South Charleston) kind of wore us down as the game went on."
Turnovers by Princeton kept the door open for the home team, and the Black Eagles (20-3) led 19-17 after the first quarter.
Princeton went 1 for 12 from the floor in the second quarter and back-to-back treys by South Charleston's Lavender Ward led to a 30-22 lead for the home team at intermission.
In a telling turnaround, the Black Eagles went on their own 7-1 run to begin the second half. That included consecutive 3-point goals by Dunham from the right and left sides. South Charleston was 5 for 10 shooting in the third quarter, and four of their field goals were treys.
Dunham put on a basketball clinic at times in the second half. In one sequence, she blocked a shot at the baseline, grabbed the rebound, dribbled the length of the court and drew a foul while putting up a shot.
The Tigerettes never caught up, and fell behind by 30 in the final minute, but Princeton never stopped fighting, even though frustrated by their 19 turnovers.
Senior Kaleigh Barker said, "I knew we had to execute everything. There were no mistakes you could make, and we made a few of those, especially on turnovers. But we never stopped until the end."
Hall said, "I had confidence in my team. We knew if we played a good game, we might win."
South Charleston head coach Gary Greene said, "We didn't play the smartest game tonight, and a lot of that credit goes to Princeton. Those kids were prepared tonight. They came out, they executed, they did what they were supposed to do."
"I don't think we were taking any game lightly, but we sure mentally weren't prepared. ... No discredit to Princeton. Law, they came out and they played their hearts out."
Eight players scored for Princeton, which was without injured starter Day Day Eaves. Barker had 12 points and eight rebounds before fouling out. Hall had 10 points and three assists. Mitchem grabbed 11 rebounds and three steals.
The Tigerettes wrap up the campaign 14-6, knowing they were 32 minutes of playing time away from another trip to the state tournament.
Mitchem said the season was "very exciting. Last year, we didn't have a very good record, but this year we did, and I think we proved to everybody that we weren't as bad as they thought we were."
Dunham finished with nine field goals and was 7 for 8 at the free throw line, and her 32 points about 10 above her average. Ward had 15 points, Rhea Smith had 12 and Jayla Brown had 10. Smith and Brown each collected six rebounds.
Dunham said, "As a junior, (I noticed) we didn't have a lot of leading scorers, so I had to step up this year."
She said about her seven 3-point goals, "They come and they go. I just keep working at it. ... My teammates helped me out on them."
Angell said about Dunham and Smith, "Those are both girls who'll probably be Division I players when they get out of high school. ... That makes it tough."
The regional final victory gives South Charleston (20-3) a spot in next week's state girls tournament.
Mitchem said, "I wish them the best of luck in the state tournament. But I wish that was us."
Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com; Twitter @BDTBone

At South Charleston High School
PRINCETON (14-6)
Danielle Hall 4 1-4 10, Madisun Parsons 1 0-0 2, Adrianna Mitchem 1 4-4 6, Olivia Brown 1 0-0 3, Jaime Vest 3 0-0 8, Brittany Long 1 1-2 3, Kaleigh Barker 3 5-6 12, Autumn Bradley 1 3-6 5. Totals 15 13-22 49.
SOUTH CHARLESTON (20-3)
Aaliyah Dunham 9 7-8 32, Unique Beaver 1 0-0 2, Rhea Smith 5 2-2 12, Lavender Ward 4 4-6 15, Jayla Brown 4 0-0 10, Mikayla Hundley 1 0-0 2, Olivia Jeffries 2 0-0 4. Totals 26 13-16 77.
Princeton....................17 5 11 16 — 49
South Charleston........19 11 19 27 — 77
3-point goals: PSHS 5 (Hall 1, Brown 1, Vest 2, Barker 1); SC 12 (Dunham 7, Ward 3, Brown 2). Total fouls -- PSHS 12, SC 15. Fouled out -- PSHS, Barker; SC, Smith.
Nightly Roundup
Mar 01, 2016 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Princeton 17 5 11 16 0 49
South Charleston 19 12 19 27 0 77
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