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The girls’ county rival game between Williamstown and Grant County felt like March Madness, as Lady Demons senior point guard Chelsea West hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining to lift Williamstown over Grant County 46-45, Dec. 17.
“It was the one we needed,” West said after the game. “I didn’t shoot well the whole game, but that was the one that we needed.”
When West hit the shot the gym exploded and that’s how Lady Demons senior forward Tori Wilhoit likes it.
“It was fun,” she said. “We didn’t even have the band here tonight. This is my favorite game to play just because of the atmosphere. The game is our biggest turnout and having the fans here allows us to feed off that energy.”
As a whole, the Lady Demons (4-5) shot 18 percent from the field and were trailing for most of the game to Grant County (0-5).
West said Lady Demons coach Mark Wilhoit set them up to get an open shot to go for the tie or for the lead.
“It was not the shot we were looking for,” West said about her shot. “But, it was the one Grant County gave us.”
Wilhoit said he was fortunate that Williamston got the victory.
“It was nice for us to get a close win,” he said. “Chelsea got a huge shot for us. Anytime she gets her feet set, she is going to knock it down.”
That didn’t stop West from apologizing after the game for shooting the ball.
“She was afraid she was going to miss the shot and the team was going to be mad at her,” Coach Wilhoit said. “I’d rather she have the ball in that situation.”
Tori Wilhoit agreed with her father that West was going to make the shot.
“I have played with Chelsea for years,” she said. “I knew she had it. It was funny seeing her reaction to it.”
On the Grant County side, it was an upsetting loss for the Lady Braves, as they were seeking their first win of the season.
For Lady Braves’ coach Darrell Guffey, even in a loss to their county rival Williamstown, he still was pleased with the performance of his players.
“I am very happy with the girls,” he said. “They competed and played hard. They have taken tremendous strides since the beginning of the season. You can see us getting better. Tonight was just a heartbreaking loss.”
Guffey felt that his team did everything they could to get the victory.
“Grant County deserved to win,” Guffey said. “It is one of those experiences that kids have got to go through and learn how to win in situations like that. The girls have not been in that situation and therefore we don’t know how to win in that situation.”
Sophomore forward Billie Hearn led the Lady Braves in scoring with 26 points.
“Billie was a monster, especially in the first half,” Guffey said. “Williamstown did some things to take the ball out of her hands in the second half, but she was a beast and the player that the coaches and I waited to see come out. We see it every day in practice, but now fans have finally seen her do some things and see the Billie Hearn we see in practice.”
Hearn was pleased with her performance because of playing her favorite rival.
“I think I did good,” she said. “I was more focused in the game, becuase it was Williamstown. They are right across the street. That was the game I really wanted to win.”
Wilhoit knew Hearn was causing issues for his Lady Demons and made those adjustments in the second half.
“I had Williamstown get into a zone defense,” he said. “I knew we couldn’t get Hearn to run, so the zone defense worked for us. Also, slowing the game down helped keep the ball out of her hands. She had a phenomenal game and I told her after the game, that we had no answer for her.”
Grant County had an opportunity in the final seconds, but Tori Wilhoit grabbed a steal to seal the win for Williamstown.
“Chelsea’s shot was big for us,” coach Wilhoit said. “Tori’s steal was just as big, because if Hearn catches that ball, I knew the game was going to be over.”
Both teams will be in tournaments after Christmas, with Williamstown playing in the Paris-Bourbon County Classic Dec. 28-30 and Grant County will be hosting the Grant County Invitational Dec. 27-30.