Gilmer County Dethrones St. Joe
CHARLESTON, WV – Gilmer County dethroned 7-time defending Class A girls basketball state champion St. Joseph Central 42-41 on Saturday afternoon, ending one of the most dominant dynasties in West Virginia high school basketball history.
St. Joe (21-4) was going for an eighth straight title, which would have tied the Northfork boys basketball team’s eight straight titles from 1974-1981.
It’s the first girls basketball state championship for Gilmer County (25-2).
“It feels awesome and I’ve had confidence in my team all year to do this,” said Gilmer County’s Kylie Shuff. “We’ve played together our whole lives to do this.”
Shuff finished with 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting, bringing the Titans back for a second half comeback.
St. Joe led 27-15 at the break, but Gilmer County outscored the Irish 18-7 in the third to cut St. Joe’s lead down to 35-34 heading to the fourth behind Shuff.
A layup from Riley Fitzwater at the 7:51 mark of the fourth gave the Titans a 35-34 advantage. The Irish, though, responded with six straight points to retake the lead at 40-35 and 5:59 left.
With 1:20 to go, a layup from Shuff pulled the Titans within two, 40-38. A 3 from Emile Jedamski at the 1:03 mark gave Gilmer County the 41-40 advantage.
After a made free throw for both teams, Alexis Hall’s potential game-winner for St. Joe in the closing seconds was off, sparking pandemonium on the floor and in the stands.
G-LtE™: When I Played Basketball for Coach Jim Justice….
When I played basketball for coach Jim Justice, he had a way to tell us that it was time to step up our game a notch. He’d use a baseball metaphor all the time at practice when it’s the bottom of the ninth and the count is 3 balls and 2 strikes, winners always want the ball to be hit to them. During games, he would yell from the bench “The count is 3 and 2,“ and every player on the court knew exactly what he meant. It was time to step up and take control of the game.
Our state is at the point now where we need someone to step up for West Virginians, and that’s exactly what Jim Justice is doing right now. He is running for Governor because he wants to go to work and make West Virginia great. Jim is the best hope that our state has; because I know that no one will work harder than him to get results. I can’t ever remember him missing practice; he always stays busy, but the man knows how to get things done.
When I played for Jim, he was always encouraging us to do our best and telling us we could do anything we put our minds to. He wanted all of his players to do well in life, not just on the court. He always stressed getting good grades and having good character. I often draw from his many stories and life lessons.
I know Jim has put his mind to improving West Virginia, and if anyone can do it— it’s him. When I graduate from Glenville State, I want to be able to get a job in West Virginia and build a life here. I just want the opportunity to stay near my family and have a career. But, if the state continues on the direction it’s going, I might have to leave. I think that Jim will reverse the tide of the state. I think he’ll set the state back on track. It is the bottom of the of the ninth, the count is 3-2, and it’s time to give Jim Justice the ball.
~~ Tyler Canterbury - Glenville, WV ~~