MASON, W.Va. — The Lady Falcons almost pulled it off.
Visiting Wirt County made a 14-6 surge over the final 5:37 of regulation and ultimately held on for a 47-36 decision over the Wahama girls basketball team in a non-conference matchup at Gary Clark Court in Mason County.
The Lady Falcons (1-11) led only 2:48 of the 32-minute affair, but the hosts never trailed by more than two possessions at the end of each of the first three periods.
WHS twice pulled to within a possession three minutes into the fourth quarter — the last of which came at 33-30 with 5:48 left — but the Lady Tigers (3-10) reeled off nine consecutive points over the next two minutes for a 42-30 cushion.
Wirt County eventually led by as many as 16 points (47-31) with 1:38 remaining, but the Red and White scored the final five points to wrap up the 11-point setback.
The difference in the outcome ultimately came from downtown as WCHS netted all four successful trifectas in the game, all of which came in the first three cantos. The guests made their final three-pointer when Taylor Anderson scored at the 1:11 mark for their largest lead at that point at 30-21.
The Lady Falcons received four straight points from Maddy VanMatre to close out the third period for a 30-25 deficit, then VanMatre capped a small 5-3 run with a basket that led to 33-30 contest with 5:48 left.
Wahama missed its final eight shots of regulation, while the Lady Tigers made 7-of-13 shot attempts in the fourth to secure their largest margin victory of the year.
Afterwards, WHS coach John Arnott was pleased with the overall effort over the course of the night — but there were a few little things that ultimately came back to haunt his troops.
Still, more than anything, the second-year mentor was encouraged to see four quarters of hard work.
“I was really pleased with the effort of the kids, but we missed some good opportunities on the offensive end and we lost track of their outside shooters a bit too much early on. The difference in this game was the outside shooting early on,” Arnott said. “We had a lot of kids contribute some good minutes tonight, but we just didn’t finish things when we had the chance. We are still improving though, and tonight I thought we showed some real signs of that.”
The Lady Falcons led 3-0 and 5-4 over the first five minutes of regulation, but Wirt County took a permanent lead at the 2:46 mark as Cori Hughes nailed a trifecta for a 7-5 edge. Anderson capped a 6-1 run with a trifecta with 32 seconds left that led to a 10-6 edge after eight minutes of play.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the course of the second canto, which led to an 18-16 contest with 1:14 left in the half. Hughes, however, came up with a trifecta with 11 seconds remaining, allowing the guests to take a 21-16 cushion into the break.
The Lady Falcons were outrebounded by a 44-37 overall margin, with Wirt County also claiming a 20-17 edge on the offensive glass. Wahama also committed 20 of the 42 turnovers in the contest.
The Red and White were 13-of-55 from the field for 24 percent, including a 0-for-11 effort from behind the arc. The hosts were also 10-of-25 at the free throw line for 40 percent.
VanMatre led WHS with a double-double effort of 13 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Hannah Rose with 12 points and Nena Hunt with eight markers.
Grace Haddox and Gracie VanMeter concluded the Wahama tally with two points and one point, respectively. VanMeter also hauled in seven rebounds and Hunt grabbed five caroms in the setback — the 10th straight for the hosts.
Wirt County netted 19-of-59 shot attempts for 32 percent, including a 4-of-17 effort from three-point range for 24 percent. WCHS was also 5-of-18 at the charity stripe for 28 percent.
Sarah Cunningham paced the Lady Tigers with a double-double effort of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Hughes also produced a double-double with 13 points and 11 caroms.
Anderson was next with a dozen markers and Caitlin Cottrell concluded the scoring with seven points.
Wirt County snapped a three-game losing skid while also picking up their third road win of the year. WCHS defeated host Buffalo (50-45) on December 21 and also knocked off host Calhoun County (41-37) on January 4.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.