WESTON - Elkins coach Nancy Lewis had no choice but to be pleased with what she saw from her team in the first quarter of play Wednesday night in the Lady Tigers' 51-37 victory over Lewis County.
Elkins, because of being undersized for the first time in a long while, planned at season's start to play an up-tempo game on both sides of the ball - run-and-gun if you will. And the Lady Tigers showed a small flicker of what could be in store for future opponents by coming out like their hair was on fire and putting the minutemans (0-5) in a hole they could never climb out of.
Spearheaded by a relentless defense that forced six turnovers in the first three minutes of play, Elkins led 17-0 before Lewis County scored its first basket of the contest at the 4:31 mark. Sheryl Woods powered the Lady Tigers offensive during the surge with six points.
PRESSURE?DEFENSE — Elkins’ Sheryl Woods, left, and Chloe Gibson trap Lewis County’s Lisa Hayhurst Wednesday night in Big 10 Conference action in Weston. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Edgar Kelley) © The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.
"I thought we came out with great intensity and looked really good in the first quarter," said Lewis. "I was definitely pleased with the way we started the game."
Elkins went on to lead 23-7 after the first quarter and took its biggest lead of the game at with two minutes left in the first quarter when Jordan Isenhart buried a three-pointer from the corner to make it 33-10, which was the score at intermission.
The Lady Tigers took a 40-22 lead into the final quarter. The minutemans were able to cut into the deficit by beginning the quarter on a 7-0 run that made 40-29. Lewis County got as close as eight points at 45-37 with 1:07 remaining, but Elkins finished the game on a 6-0 run.
"I think conditioning showed and became a problem for us late in the game," said Lewis. "When you only practiced twice in the last two weeks because of the weather, you can expect that, though."
Elkins, which collected its first-ever Big 10 Conference win with the victory, hasn't played since its season-opening loss at University on Dec. 1.
"I was glad we were able to get the win," said Lewis. "But we need to be able to keep the intensity we came out with for an entire game. Once the weather begins to cooperate and we get back into the flow of things, I expect us to be able to do it for an entire game. It's just hard to come out and play like that when you haven't been getting any work in."
Woods led Elkins (1-1) in the contest with 13 points and five steals. Isenhart followed with 12 points, while Mallorie Judy hit for nine and pulled down five rebounds.
"We dug ourselves into a big hole in the first quarter," said first-year Lewis County coach Sarah VanHorn. "But I was proud of the way our kids never gave up and fought back and made a game of it in the fourth quarter. If we would have made a few more shots late in the game it could have been even more closer."
Kristi Goe paced Lewis County with 11 points. Lisa Hayhurst followed with nine and Brown scored seven.
The Minutemaids will return to action Friday when they travel to Ritchie County for its Holiday Tournament. Lewis County will face Notre Dame in the opening round.
The Lady Tigers will play their first home game of the season Friday against Robert C. Byrd for another league game.