Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Capital and Riverside Still with Plenty to Be Optimistic About

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Capital and Riverside Still with Plenty to Be Optimistic About

Article excerpt

A Mountain State Athletic Conference game pitting two .500-or- below teams this late in the season may not seem that interesting on the surface, but there was plenty to be seen on the floor when Riverside (9-10) visited Capital (6-9) on Friday night. While the season in large may not have gone completely according to each team's liking, there are plenty of silver linings to be had.

For the Cougars, that lining comes in seniors Alex Gray and Jertaya Hall, each of whom went off against the Warriors for 23 and 27 points, respectively. Capital won the game 68-57.

Gray has hovered around a 20-point average all season and is currently second in the MSAC in scoring to Huntington's Jordyn Dawson.

She has drawn interest from Bluefield State, a destination at which Gray said she hopes to arrive next year.

For now, the Cougars sit third in the East Division of the MSAC and coach Ahmed Witten says Gray and the team's focus is on the postseason, where Capital hopes to play spoiler and Cinderella.

"We feel real good, Witten said. "Against Woodrow Wilson the other day, Alex had her first triple-double, she finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 steals so she's doing her thing right now. She knows she can't do this without her team. She's the first one at practice, she stays after practice - she wants to work everyday because she knows that's her ticket to college. But she's just excited to play high school basketball right now.

The Cougars have won three straight, all in the MSAC, for what Witten said is the team's first three-game win streak in three years. Capital's 48-47 win over Cabell Midland looks even better after the Knights knocked off No. 8 Spring Valley last week.

"When we got beat by [Buckhannon-Upshur] in beginning of the season we quit in that game. But since then we haven't quit, we haven't let down and we've been fighting the whole time, Gray said.

"My coach wants me to do everything for the team that I can. I just try to make us better.

Getting better has been a slow process for the Warriors as well, but Riverside is developing under coach Sam Terry and have a young, exciting backcourt to be enthusiastic about.

Freshmen Jasmine Symns and Haley Carroll give Riverside needed outside shooting and athleticism and will only grow and improve in the coming years.

Both are part of four Warriors that have hovered near double- digit scoring averages this season along with junior Carly Price and the team's lone senior, Ashley Hancock.

"It's a growth process, Riverside coach Sam Terry said. "Three years ago we won 1 game, last year we won seven and now we're at nine so we're getting where we need to be.

"[Carroll and Symns] give us more athleticism. We haven't had a lot of athleticism and we have two coming off the bench that are athletic and coming along. …

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