, 2014

Lady Devils take Lady Indians by a thread,
45-44, for Region A Division 2 championship

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Obviously, Lancaster and Northumberland are the two best teams in Region A Division 2 girls basketball. They keep meeting over and over again in the title games.

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The two played for a fifth time this year last Saturday with the Lady Devils pulling off a 45-44 win for the regional tournament championship.

Northumberland had beaten Lancaster 45-42 two weeks ago for the Northern Neck District tournament trophy and LHS got by NHS in a season-ending tie-breaker on February 11 for the regular season title.

“When you play a team five times, they start to figure out what they have to do against you to win,” said LHS coach Joanne Webb-Fary, who’ll be taking her team to Old Dominion University tomorrow (March 1) for a 5:30 p.m. state quarterfinal game against Region B runner-up Clarke County.

“They bring a different style of play, but we have the weapons to win if we can put it all together,” she said. “Defensively, I’m not worried. But we have to make our free throws and make the short shots.”

Northumberland, as the regional runner-up, also advances to the Division 2 tournament and will head to Robinson Secondary School in northern Virginia on Saturday, March 2, for a 1 p.m. quarterfinal against Region B champion George Mason.

Lancaster trailed by one to end the first quarter of last Saturday’s championship, then exploded for a 16-4 run in the second to go up 26-15 at the half. Aaliyah Morris-Lee hit a three-pointer to open a 7-0 run late in the second and Northumberland’s Katie Crowther finally hit from the field to break a four-minute dry spell for the Indians. Crowther scored three of her team’s four points in the period.

The Lady Indians made their move in the third with an 11-3 run that included a three-pointer by Tylisha Crockett and five points from Rajaa Shabazz. Northumberland outscored Lancaster 17-9 in the quarter to cut the Lady Devils’ lead to three, 35-32.

Northumberland got as close as one for the first time when Justice Gordon hit one of two free throws, 35-34, but Shamerah Taylor went end-to-end on the rebound. Lancaster pulled down another defensive rebound and Trenae Henderson had the stickback for a 39-34 lead.

Northumberland, which scored 10 of its 12 fourth-quarter points at the line, tied the game for the first time since the first quarter at 39-all on two foul shots by Shabazz with 4:04 to play.

Lancaster led 45-41 with a minute to play when Nia Jones hit the second of two foul shots and Gordon was fouled on a layup. The basket was good to pull Northumberland within one, 45-44, but Gordon missed the free throw to tie.

The Indians had three more missed shots in the final seconds, including one at the buzzer.

Northumberland outscored the Lady Devils at the line, 20-8.

Sharda Beane, who was the tournament MVP, and Taylor both scored 10 to lead Lancaster.

“I’ve always tried to find the right combination of starters,” said Webb-Fary, “and Sharda may be a starter sitting on the bench sometimes at the beginning, but I like that nobody sees her coming. She’s a surprise. She’s great coming off the bench offensively.”

Lancaster’s 6’4” center Aleyeh Davenport scored nine and had six blocked shots. Davenport is averaging six blocks per game.

“She’s gotten some confidence,” said Webb-Fary. “She is working really hard on defense and our offense is doing a better job of getting her the ball. She has the potential to be a huge scorer inside and the girls are starting to recognize when to feed the ball into her.”

Jones scored 14 points and Crockett 10 to lead the Lady Indians.

Semifinals

Northumberland got a shot at championship berth with a 68-32 win over top-seed Northampton in a semifinal game. The Indians also beat Sussex, 68-47, in a quarterfinal.

Lancaster earned a berth in the regional title game with a 60-38 win over Mathews in last Thursday’s semifinal.

Beane scored all of her 14 points in the second half to lead four double-digit scorers for Lancaster.

After sitting the bench in the second quarter, Beane helped Lancaster expand a 28-23 halftime lead with five points in the third and another nine in the fourth.

Morris-Lee, who finished with 10 for the Lady Red Devils, drilled a pair of three pointers in the third and scored eight in Lancaster’s 19-8 third quarter run.

Lancaster held Mathews to single-digit scoring in both the third and fourth quarters.

Davenport had 12 points and nine blocked shots for Lancaster and Anesha White added 11 points.

Quarterfinals

The Lady Red Devils pitched a shutout in the first quarter of their regional game against Nandua, holding the Lady Warriors scoreless until midway through the second quarter. Henderson and White scored six points each as Lancaster put up 23 unanswered points in the first eight minutes.

The Lady Devils went on another 16-0 run to start the second to lead 39-1 at one point and end the half up 44-9.

All but two players scored for Lancaster with Davenport leading with 16. Beane added 11 and Tr. Henderson and White scored nine each.

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