James Monroe girls survive, advance to Class A semifinals

Mar. 6—Both teams showed enough grit to shake off state tournament adversity.

James Monroe did just enough to win the game.

The Mavericks led by as much as 15 in the first quarter, only to watch Huntington St. Joseph battle back and take the lead in the third quarter. The Irish then went cold offensively, and No. 4 seed James Monroe took advantage to survive for a 58-57 win in the Class A state quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The Mavericks (17-8) will face No. 1 and two-time defending state champion Cameron Friday at 11:15 a.m.

They looked like they were going to blow the fifth-seed Irish out of the arena early. James Monroe scored the first eight points of the game and by the final minute of the first quarter led 20-5.

The Mavericks were 9 of 16 (56.3 percent) from the floor.

Things started to change in the second. The Mavs slowed down drastically on offense, hitting just 3 of 15 shots.

The Irish (19-6) took advantage. Trailing 27-14, they went on an 11-2 run to get the deficit down to single digits. A 3-pointer by Lacee Smith made it 29-25 before a pair of free throws by Maggie Boroski with 45 seconds to play allowed James Monroe to go into halftime with a 31-25 lead.

The trend continued in the third quarter. Smith hit three of her six 3-pointers in the period, one of which tied the game at 35-35 at the 4:54 mark.

A free throw by Niko Kaufmann gave the Irish their first lead of the game, and another 3 from Smith made it 39-35 with just over a minute to play.

St. Joseph took a 41-38 lead into the fourth.

With the Irish up 43-38, the Mavericks got the offense going again. They twice pulled to within one before a shot by Mya Dunlap helped them regain the lead for good at 46-45.

The Irish stayed in it, a 3-pointer by Kaufmann getting them to within 51-49. But James Monroe was 5 of 8 at the free throw line the rest of the way to keep ahead.

A pair of free throws by Mary Beth Meadows made it 58-55 with 8.2 seconds left. The Irish drove down after inbounding the ball and Kaufmann hit a shot but it was well within the three-point arc, leaving them down a point as the final buzzer sounded.

Boroski and Mya Dunlap played much of the second half with four fouls for the Mavericks. Boroski fouled out with nine seconds left.

The Irish did themselves in at the foul line, going 9 of 21 (42.9 percent).

Boroski had 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals for the Mavericks.

Mya Dunlap had a game-high 18 points, while Ava Dunlap scored 12 and Abby Mathis 11.

Smith, who missed most of the fourth quarter with a knee injury, led the Irish with 17 points and four assists. Kaufmann finished with 16 points and three steals, Sophie Ransbottom 10 rebounds and nine points and Mariah Johnson 11 boards and three steals.

Meadows, who was held to four points — all at the free throw line — was awarded the Greg Reed Memorial Leadership Scholarship before the game. The scholarship is named in honor of the longtime coach and administrator and former WVSSAC officer who passed away last year.

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