Tolsia has been a tough nut to crack over the years for the Chapmanville Regional High School girls’ basketball team when it comes to post-season tournament time.
Tolsia has been tough for anyone for that matter.
Fortunately for the Lady Tigers, Chapmanville won’t have to play the Rebels anymore in the sectionals.
Tolsia made the most of its last go-round in the Class AA sectionals by downing Chapmanville 56-49 on Wednesday night in one of the two Region 4 Section 2 semifinal matchups at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
The win moved Tolsia (12-11) into Thursday night’s sectional championship game against top seed and county rival Wayne (17-4). The victory also assured the Rebels a spot in next week’s Class AA regional tournament.
For the Lady Tigers, it was one and done since the semifinal round is do or die. The loss ended Chapmanville’s season at 12-10 and also closed out the coaching career of Lady Tigers’ head coach David Williamson, who had announced a few weeks before that this would be his last season as the CRHS mentor.
Chapmanville lost despite having the higher seed, number two, as Tolsia was given the No. 3 seed.
The matchup appeared to be even on paper.
The two teams had split during the regular season with Tolsia winning 60-46 at Chapmanville and the Lady Tigers topping the Rebels 66-44 on Jan. 21 at Glenhayes.
Tolsia has always proven over the years to be a very tough team to beat in the post-season and the Rebels showed that on Wednesday night, putting the defensive pressure on Chapmanville, forcing numerous turnovers and jumping out to a seemingly insurmountable 20-point lead in the early moments of the second quarter.
Chapmanville eventually turned up the intensity, coming to within 47-40 midway into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers, though, blew a few easy basket opportunities and just ran out of time as Tolsia walked away with the seven-point win.
Chapmanville had no answer for Dena Jarrells, who tossed in a game-high 26 points and also had six assists and five rebounds.
CRHS trailed by 18 points at 31-13 at halftime.
It was just too much to overcome.
Had the game went to a fifth quarter things might have been different.
“We were down almost 20 at the half,” Coach Williamson said. “We practiced and they did exactly what we thought they were going to do but they have Dena Jarrells and we don’t. She’s the best freshman in the state. She’s as good as there is. They have very capable players.”
Mariah Finley also had 16 points and eight boards for Tolsia. Latasha Nichols finished with seven points and 16 rebounds. Michaela Messer had five points and Sarah Jude two. Marlee Marcum had five rebounds.
Senior Shain Meeks led Chapmanville with 13 points in her final prep basketball game. Abby Marcum had 11, Lexi Martin eight, senior NeNe Osborne seven, Madison Webb six and Kaylee Blair four.
It was also the last high school game for Chapmanville’s other senior, Caitlin Workman.
Down 18 at the half, the Lady Tigers cut into Tolsia’s third quarter lead, coming to within eight at one point and trailing 43-29 after three.
Then in the fourth, Chapmanville really tightened it up, getting its crowd into the game for the first time since the first-quarter onslaught.
CRHS went on an 11-4 run, capped off by a pair of Martin free throws, to make it 47-40 with 3:57 left in the game. Abby Marcum also had a three-point play during the run and Blair hit a jumper.
Tolsia was then able to put it away, netting 9-of-11 free throws down the stretch.
Chapmanville still never quit and kept trimming the deficit down.
After a pair of Meeks free throws with 20.5 ticks left the Lady Tigers were down 53-46.
Jarrells then split from the line and Osborne was able to nail down a 3-pointer with just 6.2 ticks to go, pulling Chapmanville to within 54-49.
The Lady Tigers just ran out of time, however. Jarrells netted two more foul shots with 0.3 seconds left to set the final score.
“We had a chance. We cut it to seven,” Williamson said. “We missed a bunny and they turned it over and we turned it back over. Those were two trips and we could have cut it to three. I just feel bad for our seniors, Workman, Meeks and Osborne.”
Tolsia set the tone early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead after a driving scoop down the lane by Jarrells, a Jarrells 3 and a Finley three-point play, forcing Chapmanville to call timeout.
The lead then swelled to 15-5 with two more buckets by Jarrells.
Tolsia led 21-5 after one quarter as Jarrells scored another hoop and Nichols had two more buckets inside the paint.
Chapmanville’s turnovers kept mounting and the Rebels expanded the lead to 25-5 with yet another Jarrells hoop and a Finley layup with 5:59 left until halftime.
Osborne cut into the lead with a 3 as Chapmanville trailed 25-11.
Tolsia then went on a 6-0 run, capped off by a 15-foot bank shot off the window by Jarrells to take a 31-11 lead with 1:51 left.
Jarrells ended up with 14 points at the half with 11 of those coming in the first quarter alone.
Meeks scored on a layup with 45 seconds left, closing Chapmanville to within 31-13 at the break.
The Lady Tigers then began their long comeback.
An 11-2 run by Chapmanville closed the gap to 33-24, capped off by a Blair inside hoop. Meeks had earlier canned a 17-footer and also drained a 3-pointer.
Martin then closed the Lady Tigers to within 35-27 with an old-fashioned three-point play at the 1:38 mark.
Later, Marcum’s bucket inside the lane kept CRHS within 38-29 with 29 ticks left.
Chapmanville continued the comeback but fell short.
The game ended up being the last matchup against Tolsia in sectional play. The Rebels are dropping back down to Class A ball next season and will rejoin their old sectional against arch-rival Tug Valley.
Chapmanville will be joined by county rivals Logan and Man in next year’s sectional tourney along with Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County.
Wayne will be moving to a new sectional.
Lincoln County is moving down from 3A to 2A and Man is going up from Single-A to Double-A next year.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).