Doddridge County Girls Pass Class A Radar | News, Sports, Jobs


Abby McDonough of Doddridge County shoots a contested jump shot in a game against Williamstown earlier this season. (Photo by Kelly Gola)

WESTERN UNION – Doddridge County women’s basketball is becoming more than just a beacon on the radar.

Despite a 23-point loss to No.1 Class A Gilmer County in their last game, the Bulldogs earned the respect of opposing coaches and the media after winning six of their first eight games and making their debut in the Class A poll at # 6 earlier this week.

“At the start of the season, when the pre-season poll came out and we weren’t ranked, we saw that as a challenge,” said Rylee Spurlock, the only senior on the DCHS list.

“It was like we were the underdogs and hardly anyone was paying attention to us. So, placing sixth (this week) was a confident boost for the team. People pay attention to what we are doing.

Last season, DCHS coach Lisa Cheeseman led the program to her first sectional championship since 1997.

The current Bulldogs are hoping for a deeper run behind Spurlock and second team Abby McDonough and another handful of girls who are filling their roles with impressive results.

“I’m incredibly proud of the girls – they’ve come a long way already”, Cheeseman said.

“I have the impression that they are improving day by day. I see a different aspect of their game improving.

“I like the direction we are heading and the direction of the children. They are excited and can’t wait for the next game.

The Bulldog’s 2021 season benchmark came nearly two weeks after Calhoun County inflicted their first loss on DCHS. The second meeting between the two schools took place in Mount Zion and the Bulldogs won a 54-51 victory. The two-hour return trip was a breeze after the post-game celebration in the locker room.

“This victory has been rewarding as it is difficult to beat Calhoun County on their own turf,” Spurlock said. “Plus, their crowd is wild. It’s a long drive home, but it’s better to come home winning rather than losing.

The victory over Calhoun County follows a road victory at Webster County – both part of a five-game winning streak.

“We just played this second game with Calhoun County where the kids really believed they were going to win,” Cheeseman said. “It sent the girls over. I’ve never seen them so excited.

Spurlock, who sits second on the team in assists (3.1) and second in scores (9.4), is the glue that decided to ramp up his offensive output from the previous three years, so that she rarely saw herself as an impact player in this phase of the game.

“For the past two years, Rylee has struggled with her self-confidence, but this year she stepped in and told me she wanted this to work and bring the team to Charleston.” Cheeseman said.

Spurlock commented that she and McDonough were playing a team role for the younger girls. Sometimes being the only elder can be scary but it can also be exciting. She’s been through wars and has represented what it is like to be a member of the Bulldog Girls Basketball Program.

The whole world isn’t resting on Spurlock’s shoulder because she knows McDonough is supporting her.

“Rylee really embraced his role as captain”, Cheeseman said.

McDonough continues to post numbers from all states, averaging 20.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 2.9 assists. Even when her offensive numbers drop in a particular game, she continues to have a defensive impact. She’s responsible for protecting the opposing team’s best offensive threat.

“Abby is really playing a game – she’s a weapon”, Cheeseman said. “As a former Division II basketball player and from what I’ve seen of Abby, she’s an amazing athlete and sometimes does things that I haven’t seen in Division II. “

Doddridge doesn’t necessarily have depth, instead the Bulldogs have six to seven quality basketball players fulfilling their roles. Carrie Lloyd is the only player to spend little time in college last season. This season, she dominated on the boards (12.7) and contributed in the scoring column (6.9).

“Carrie had a very important role to play” Cheeseman said. “I’ve seen glimpses of really good things. Against Gilmer County, my mouth went down a few times. She scored 18 points that night.

When Tenley Paugh and Jocelyn Lipscomb score, they do it quietly. There is no pomp or fanfare unlike the 4-foot-10 way Emily Gola deals with wreaking havoc in every phase of the game. Gola is averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds.

“Emily is fiery – she has to watch out for her faults because she plays so aggressively”, Cheeseman said. “She was our best rebounder in Clay County with 12 rebounds and the next game she has 11 more rebounds. You don’t realize she’s 4-10 because she plays like a 6-footer.

The DCHS, which aligns with a ranger-focused agenda, almost caused a stir statewide in the loss to Gilmer County. The Bulldogs were leading 18-15 in the first half and were only six behind at 33-27 at the half. McDonough scored to open the second half, but the Titans took a 50-35 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We had some energy in the first half and were ready to go, but Gilmer County have a way to score you some points and all of a sudden you lose seven points,” Spurlock said. “Then you look up and it’s 17, then it’s 20.

“We are delighted with our revenge with Gilmer County. The first half against Gilmer County was very important and gave us the confidence that we could play with them.

The DCHS schedule resumes next week with three games in the space of five days. The Bulldogs host Braxton County on Tuesday, then meet Magnolia two days later on the first night of the Tyler Consolidated Invitational. Their next opponent on Saturday will be either a member of their Tyler Consolidated section or a member of their Valley region (Wetzel).

“What makes this group special is their determination to beat anyone,” Cheeseman said.

Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]

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