CHARLESTON - Wheeling Central coach Penn Kurtz knows it wasn't pretty and a repeat performance will likely send the Maroon Knights home.
For one day, though, Wheeling Central was able to overcome a sloppy effort to beat Charleston Catholic, 52-29, in the quarterfinals of the West Virginia Class A Girls' Basketball Tournament on Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Wheeling Central (23-3) will play Williamstown at 11:15 a.m. today for a spot in Saturday's state championship game. The Yellowjackets' Liz Flowers, a West Liberty recruit, scored 47 points in a come-from-behind victory earlier in the day against Tucker County.
PHOTO BY Bob Wojcieszak/Charleston Daily Mail
''It was an interesting game and it took us a little while to get started but you anticipate that when you play Charleston Catholic,'' Kurtz said. ''They might be a little down but they have a proud tradition and an excellent coach and you know they are going to come out and play us hard.
''We struggled to get the ball in the basket. Very sloppy on both ends of the court. We turned the ball over too much and I thought our defense was very ... inadequate. We let them get dribble penetration. We let them get offensive rebounds and we just seemed to be out of sync and I don't know why.''
Bri Robbins paced the Maroon Knights with 12 points, followed by Colleen McCormick with 10.
Wheeling Central had a hard time getting anything going on offense and the free-throw shooting was a woeful 10 of 22.
Charleston Catholic had its opportunities, but the Irish were even more inept on offense.
Charleston Catholic (13-11) shot 8 of 44 from the field (18.2 percent) and 2 of 13 from 3-point land.
Both teams started the game in an offensive funk with Emily Bucon's two free throws - after she missed four previous attempts - finally putting someone on the board at the 3:42 mark of the first quarter.
Wheeling Central led 14-3 after one and 27-10 at halftime and was never really challenged.
The closest the Irish got from there was 14 points.
''We knew we were the major underdog coming into the game,'' Charleston Catholic coach Ashley Shepler said. ''Wheeling Central is a very tough team defensively. We knew (scoring) was going to be an issue against their defense and we struggled against them offensively.''
Anna Wood was the lone Irish player in double figures at 12 points.
Wheeling Central expects a much tougher matchup against Williamstown. The two teams are very familiar with one another, having played in the three previous regional co-finals, as well as a 73-58 Maroon Knights victory earlier this season.
''We know their style, we know what they do. It's just a matter of trying to beat it,'' Kurtz said. ''They are gonna make you run up and down the court.
''We better (play defense better ) or (Flowers) might have 67. We will really have to be aware of where she is at on the court and limit her penetration. And of course, take care of the ball.''