NITRO – In order of his Nitro Wildcats to round back into the form that pushed them to a Cardinal Conference North Division title a year ago, coach Pat Jones said he needs All-State guard Baylee Goins to be Baylee Goins.
He also needs point guard Haley Carroll to be Haley Carroll. And for stretches that proved to be long enough on Thursday as both were in vintage form.
Goins erupted for 38 points and Carroll poured in all 17 of her points in the second half as the Class AA No. 9 Wildcats pulled away for a 78-62 win over visiting No. 7 Chapmanville.
It marked the first win over a ranked opponent for Nitro (11-5). After falling in a 63-59 heart-breaker at Wayne on Monday, the Wildcats finally earned a much-needed signature win.
“At Wayne we played hard,” Jones said. “We were up two with 25 or 30 seconds left and some things happened that were out of our hands.
“The difference is when Baylee Goins is Baylee Goins. At times, Baylee wants to take plays off. Baylee is the leader on this team. She controls the tempo of the game and determines what we’re going to do.”
It was a slow start for Goins as she scored just two points in the first quarter and the Tigers (13-4) opened a 16-12 lead after one. But Goins scored the first 15 Nitro points in the second period as the Wildcats forged ahead 31-26 at the break.
Carroll was held scoreless and sent to the bench with her second foul with 2:35 left in the half, but it didn’t take her long to make her presence felt after the break.
Graci Brumfield scored the first basket of the third quarter for Chapmanville but it was followed by 12 straight points for Nitro, which proved to be the difference-making run. Carroll had a pair of 3-pointers and two free throws in that stretch and it ignited the senior on both ends of the floor.
“Started out rough and I knew I had to get my head on straight if we wanted to pull away from them,” Carroll said. “Pat just said, ‘Calm down, breathe and you’ve got it.’ The momentum just gets me going.”
“We started doubling Goins and making her give the ball up but we weren’t finding Carroll,” Chapmanville coach Johnny Williamson said. “We were supposed to be cheating to her side and forcing someone else to shoot, but we got mixed up a few times and they got a lot of offensive rebounds and kicked it back out to her too.”
Carroll added nine points in the fourth quarter, including six big free throws as the Wildcats held off a final Chapmanville run that saw the Tigers get as close as seven points.
Meanwhile, Goins was having her own field day, racking up 10 steals, seven assists and six rebounds all while locking up on Chapmanville sharp shooter Ali Williamson, who entered the game as the Tigers’ leading scorer but was held to two points on 1 of 12 shooting.
Brumfield scored 26 with Hollie Blair adding 15 points and eight rebounds for Chapmanville, but 28 turnovers and a 40-26 rebounding deficiency were too much for the Tigers to overcome.
“[Williamson] passed up a lot of shots and Goins was a big factor, she was playing her man-to-man,” Williamson said. “We didn’t rebound well, we were terrible from the foul line — I think it’s one of those games that you’ve played Sherman and Poca [prior] and we weren’t ready for this kind of game, but that’s on us. I don’t know of any aspect of this game that you could look at and say it’s good other than Hollie Blair played OK.”
Olivia Collier pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with six points for Nitro. Allie Farmer added 10 points for the Tigers.
The rest of Nitro’s schedule would seem, on paper, to be fairly manageable until a season-ending home date with No. 1 Winfield. The Generals already own a 72-44 win over the Wildcats after Nitro swept the season series a year ago.
Thursday’s win would seem to be of the variety to possibly kick-start some momentum, similar to the kind that sent the Wildcats on a nine-game win streak late in the season last year.
“We’ve got a big head at times, overconfident, but I think where Wayne beat us and Winfield beat us, it snapped us back to reality,” Carroll said. “This one is definitely going to snowball.”
CHAPMANVILLE 83, POCA 35: It was no contest on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Poca as the Chapmanville Regional High School girls' basketball team rolled to an 83-35 win at Poca in Cardinal Conference action.
Five Lady Tigers reached double figures in scoring, led by center Hollie Blair's 18 points.
Allie Farmer tossed in 17, while Graci Brumfield had 14, Ali Wiliamson 13 and Olivia Dalton 10.
Claire Dingess had seven and Mikayla Crum four.
Devin Ord led Poca with a game-high 21 points on the evening.
“We had five girls in double figures and our two post players had double-doubles,” CRHS coach Johnny Williamson said.
Chapmanville led 29-9 after the first quarter, 36-25 at the half and and 62-35 after three.