FAYETTEVILLE — The Lady Billies are going to the Big Dance.
The Man High School girls’ basketball team wrapped up its first trip to the Class A state tournament since 2008 when the Lady Billies won a thrilling 79-71 double overtime game at Fayetteville on Thursday night in the regional co-championship game at the Fayetteville High School gym.
Man (15-10) drew the No. 8 seed for the state tournament and will match up with No. 1-ranked and top seed Huntington St. Joe (22-1) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.
The Lady Billies last played in the state tournament five years ago when Man lost 45-31 to Wheeling Central in an opening round contest.
Man coach Tonia Ward was happy with the victory over the Pirates.
“We played well and it was one of our best games of the year,” Ward said. “We couldn’t stop their big girl but we continued to battle. But they couldn’t stop Summer Sword either.”
Sword, who became Man High School’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball history this season, surpassing Sarah Caserta, led the Lady Billies with 32 points. Mika McCoy was right behind with 27 points. Morgan Conn netted eight, Jennifer Shull five, Hannah Harvey four and Taylor Whited three.
“Mika McCoy played well and Morgan Conn and Jennifer Shull took care of the ball,” Ward said. “Taylor Whited got a lot of rebounds and assists and was a leader out there. She got the girls motivated. Hannah Harvey came into the game and got two big baskets for us. It was just a total team effort.”
Fayetteville was led in scoring by Jessica Brown’s 31 points. She fouled out of the game with 20 seconds left in regulation. Maddie Pritt had 13, while Alvina Sedlock had 11. Erica Hogan had four, Alysia Sedlock three and Kathryn Peelish two.
The Pirates were 19-for-31 from the free throw line, while Man was 22-for-39.
“We struggled at the foul line hitting only 55 percent but we hit them when we needed to at the end,” Ward said. “Morgan Conn, Mika McCoy and Summer Sword hit some key free throws in overtime. Morgan Conn got a big steal there late and Jennifer Shull had a steal. They all played good team ball. I’m so proud of my girls.”
Fayetteville closed out the season with a 17-7 record.
Man had to rally late to win the game.
Fayetteville’s Pritt had hit two free throws with 2:39 left to give the Pirates a 67-63 lead in the second overtime.
The Lady Billies battled back with a big basket by Conn to make it 67-65 and added a free throw off a steal to slice the margin to 67-66.
Man continued its surge as Harvey scored a bucket to give Man a 68-67 lead.
Harvey then came up big and added another critical basket to push the Man lead to 70-67 with 1:37 to go in the second OT.
Man continued the pressure and got two charity tosses by McCoy to give the Lady Billies a 72-67 cushion with just 1:01 on the clock. It was all set up by a Shull steal.
Fayetteville crept to within 72-69 on two foul shots by Hogan.
But it was Man which outscored the Pirates 7-2 the rest of the way to secure the win.
The Lady Billies now shift focus to Huntington St. Joe.
The Irish are one of the best teams in the state regardless of class and Man will go into the contest as heavy underdogs.
St. Joe advanced to state with an easy 73-45 win over Parkersburg Catholic in the regionals. The Irish breezed in the sectionals with wins over Wahama (86-31) and Charleston Catholic (80-30).
St. Joe’s only loss this season was a 53-48 setback to Webb, Tenn., in a holiday tournament game on Dec. 29 in Atlanta — a tourney in which the Irish were 2-1. The Irish have since reeled off 15 straight wins.
St. Joe is led by 5-8 junior guard Mychal Johnson, who averages 22.3 points per game. She has verbally committed to play collegiate basketball at the University of Notre Dame.
The Irish also have 5-6 juinor Griffin Dempsey, who averages 17.4 points per contest. Other top St. Joe players include 5-8 junior Rachel Lee (10.7) and 5-10 junior Asia Petitte (11.5).
St. Joe is 3-0 against state tourney teams this season. The Irish knocked off Class AAA Parkersburg South (63-49) and have wins over Wheeling Central (47-39) and Williamstown (104-64).
Man also played Williamstown in the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament and lost 84-61 on Feb. 8.
— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report.