Northumberland’s Lady Indians celebrate after beating Lancaster, 45-42, for the Northern Neck District tournament championship last Friday. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Lancaster had earned its way into the championship game with a 56-50 semifinal win over fourth-place Essex, while Northumberland beat third-place Colonial Beach, 45-39.
The Lady Devils and Lady Indians split in their four meetings this season. Lancaster claimed one district game and the tie-breaker last Monday for the Northern Neck’s regular season title. The Lady Indians picked up a district win over Lancaster and won in the tournament final.
The two teams could meet again this week in the Region A, Division 2 tournament.
Number three Lancaster (19-5) was scheduled to host #6 Nandua Tuesday night while #4 Northumberland traveled to #5 Sussex. Elsewhere, #7 Essex and #3 Mathews also were paired in a quarterfinal game while first-place Northampton received a bye. The winners will play in semifinal games at 6 and 8 p.m. tonight (February 21) at Lancaster.
Northumberland’s Nia Jones had a game-high 23 points in the tournament championship to help the Indians claim the trophy.
Jones scored eight of Northumberland’s 10 points in the fourth quarter as they fended off a late-game charge by the host Devils.
The two teams traded shots in the first quarter and Northumberland took a 9-7 lead and led for the remainder.
Jones drilled two from the line with three seconds left in the first half, but then committed a mental mistake, fouling Lancaster’s Arkasia Sutton on a half court shot at the buzzer for her third foul. Sutton went to the line for three but hit only one and Lancaster trailed 20-14 heading into the locker room.
The two teams went cold from the floor for the first three minutes of the third as Jones sat the bench in foul trouble for the Indians.
Northumberland’s Justice Gordon finally hit for the Indians and Northumberland came up with an immediate steal as Lancaster brought the ball down the court. Northumberland took a 23-14 lead before Sharda Beane answered with a three-pointer for the Devils. Beane struck three times from three-point land on the night and finished with 13 points as the high scorer for Lancaster. She hit back-to-back to pull Lancaster within five, 25-20, with just over three minutes to go in the third.
Sutton also hit from the cheap seats with 13 seconds remaining in the third to close the gap to three, 33-30, but Rajaa Shabazz sank two free throws to end the third with Northumberland in front by five, 35-30.
The Lady Indians went on a 9-3 run in the first five minutes of the fourth to take an 11-point lead, their biggest of the night. Jones hit a three-pointer to cap the run for a 44-33 NHS lead.
The Lady Devils battled back with a quick eight unanswered points. Aaliyah Morris-Lee opened the run with a shot and the Devils stole the ball for a layup by Beane to close the gap to seven. Anesha White’s basket and another LHS steal and a goal by Shamerah Taylor pulled Lancaster to within three, 44-41, with just over a minute to play.
Jones sank one at the foul line and Taylor answered in the waning seconds for the 45-42 final.
Taylor finished with 12 points for the Lady Devils and Shabazz added seven for Northumberland.