The Greenbrier East Lady Spartans defeated Monroe County Tuesday evening, 88-43.
Taylor Hardiman scored 19 points coming off the bench, and Kiara Smith added 17, with Katie Wilmer and Haley McClure adding 14 each. For Monroe County, Gracie Mann scored 16, and Sydney Ballard scored 15. The score at the end of the first period was 27-8, and there was never any doubt about who would win the game.
James Monroe shot 27 percent; East shot 42 percent. Hardiman was deadly from three-point range, going 4 for 4. McClure had three blocked shots. Monroe had 24 turnovers to East’s 14.
East’s press, which usually gives fits to opposing teams, was handled well by James Monroe. Shilyn Fox didn’t shoot well, going 2 for 9, but she was great at getting a rebound or getting the outlet pass and immediately sending it flying down the floor to a teammate. Instead of maneuvering the ball down the court with a series of across the court passes, James Monroe cleared it immediately, and usually could drive for a layup attempt.
East had more size inside, and they regularly fed the ball in to Piper Nunley, who could usually get herself a layup.
The last time these two teams played the score was 87-72, just a 15 point margin. This time the margin was 45 points. After the game, the major complaint of Monroe’s coach Michael Hines was his defense, which he said played out of position much of the night. But according to East coach Jim Justice, the reason for the large point differential was East’s defense, which held Monroe to such a low score. “What we did more than anything, was they scored 70 points on us over there, and our goal was to hold them to 45 or under. We’ve got to amp up our defense. We’re getting better, but our goal was to do that.”
East was ranked no. 3 in the state coming in to this game. On Monday, Jan. 16, when coach Jim Justice is sworn into office as West Virginia’s governor, he plans to have his basketball players with him in Charleston, watching the whole show.