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Shepherd teams, Jefferson struggle at end

By Staff | Mar 8, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Basketball coaches often mention how their teams are playing when the regular season closes. They want to see some signs that help them find confidence going into any postseason tournament.

At Shepherd, positive signs of showing being prepared for the men’s and women’s Mountain East Conference tournaments were not in evidence, as both teams completed their respective seasons with a string of losses.

The Shepherd women dropped games last week to sabre-rattling Glenville and Fairmont, to finish the regular season with eight-straight losses. With the late-season downturn, the Rams had an 11-17 overall record and an 8-14 record in the league. The eight-straight league losses dropped the Rams into eighth place, meaning they had to play ninth-seeded West Virginia State in a first round game.

Should Shepherd tame West Virginia State it would be paired with Glenville, the tournaments No. 1 seed after finishing in the regular season run.

Last week, the Rams fell, 85-66, to Glenville in Shepherdstown.

The twice-beaten Pioneers held a 44-32 lead by halftime. Shepherd stayed within hailing range until the Pioneers closed the game on a 13-2 run.

Glenville was able to attempt 87 shots with its up-tempo style of play. Ten Pioneer players got at least 16 minutes of playing time.

Re’Shawna Stone scored 22 points in 20 minutes of court time for Pioneers, while Liz Moorman, a senior, had a career high 24 points for Shepherd.

In its last regular season game, Shepherd fell, 73-66, on the road to Fairmont. The Fighting Falcons led, 21-13, after one quarter, and had extended their margin to 35-23 by halftime.

Kayla Tibbs (7-for-18 from the field) scored 20 points, even though she made just 2-for-8 from beyond the three-point line. Fairmont’s Rachel Laskody scored 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting and Brooke Kurucz added 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

The Shepherd men lost their last three regular season games to complete a 13-15 overall record that included a 9-13 Mountain East Conference mark.

The Rams were the No. 7 seed in this week’s tournament and faced 10th-seeded Virginia Wise in the opening round. A Shepherd win over the Highland Cavaliers would send it against No. 2 Fairmont in the quarterfinals.

In its final two games of the regular season, Shepherd dropped a 79-65 verdict at home to Glenville, a team that came into the night with a 5-15 conference mark, and then traveled to Fairmont, where the Rams lost, 89-78.

The loss to Glenville did feature some effective foul shooting by both teams, with Glenville going 17-for-19 from the foul line and Shepherd making 17-of-20 free throws. Jon Preston had 16 points, Thomas Lang another 16 and Winston Burgess scored 15 points. Phil Bledsoe led the Pioneers with his 21 points.

Derek McKnight scored 21 points, Devin Smith 18 points and Lang another 18 points in the loss at Fairmont.

Jefferson High lost its last three regular season games, falling to Martinsburg (62-28), Musselman (66-30) and Hedgesville (55-23) before being voted the No. 1 seed in a sectional tournament, which also included county rival Washington and Hampshire.

Washington defeated Hampshire by two points in the first sectional game and then the Patriots triumphed, 55-33, over Jefferson in the next round. Although it was 0-1 in postseason play, the Cougars moved on to the regional tournament, where they saw unbeaten Martinsburg (24-0). Jefferson carried a 9-14 record to Martinsburg, a team it already lost to by 37 points and 34 points.