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Valentine's Day is supposedly the holiday of love.
On Valentine's Eve, however, local hoopsters received little of that sentiment.
Monday's opening round of district basketball playoffs ended up with four teams being bounced from the post-season.
In fact, all three of the boys teams will experience the rest of the playoffs from the stands. Jefferson Forest fell to Amherst, 69-64; Liberty was upended by Brookville, 79-71; and Staunton River was nipped by Lord Botetourt, 64-60.
The girls fared much better. Staunton River had earned a first-round bye and sat out Monday's festivities. The JF lady Cavs picked up the only local win of the evening, taking Amherst, 43-40. The Minettes of Liberty were beaten by Rustburg, 50-34.
Both Liberty teams took it on the chin in a doubleheader they hosted.
In the opener, the Minettes raced out to an 11-2 lead late in the first quarter, thanks to big buckets by Lesley Comer and Gabbi Spinner.
The Rusties roared back to tie the score at 20. But McKenzie Tibbs and Mikalah Jones teamed up to make five free throws. Alas, it was the last lead of the game for Liberty as the Rusties went up early in the third and never looked back in this very physical contest.
Jones had 19 and Comer added nine for Liberty. Rustburg was paced by Tayla Glass, who put up 20 points and hauled down a dozen rebounds. O'Neka Jones nabbed nine rebounds while posting nine points.
The Minutemen took the court and saw Brookville race out to a 28-13 lead midway through the second quarter.
Darius McCoy delivered eight straight points and, later, put on a three-point shooting demonstration.
But it wasn't enough, as the M-Men could only come as close as four points before the Bees pulled away.
McCoy, in his final Liberty game, had 36 points. That wasn't enough to overcome Brookville's Mark Boyd (23 points), Ben Hogg (23) and Matt Blanks (18).
JF splits with Amherst
The Jeff Forest boys played superb basketball against the top team in the Seminole.
Even that wasn't enough as the Lancers turned up the juice, overcoming a seven-point JF third quarter lead to take the win.
JF had a shot to win the game when they closed to 66-64 on a Kylin Cardwell-to- Tyler Lucy bang-bang play with 23 seconds remaining.
Amherst's Jeremy Darby converted one of two free throws to post a three-point margin. On JF's next possession, however, the Cavs couldn't get the shot they needed to tie the game.
"Going in, I told my players that we had to fight the whole way and we had to give ourselves a chance to win at the end," said JF Head Coach Paul Smith. "We did both of those things.
"I'm disappointed, but we went toe-to-toe with the best team in Region III (Div. 4)."
The Lady Cavs had an equally exciting game at Amherst.
In a game that was tight throughout its run, the Lady Cavs kept their cool, ringing up their seventh win in eight games. Anna Carter led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. Cassidy Ratliff, who pegged a trey to put away the game, chipped in a dozen points to go with her four steals.
Non-memorable season ends
The Golden Eagles played their most competitive Blue Ridge game of the year, but it wasn't enough, as they fell to the Bots.
Cam Holdren, back after an extended absence (due to injury) poured in 14 points, as did point guard Deshawn Martin. Those totals couldn't' overcome Lord Botetourt's Justin Goode, who knocked back 23 for the night.
The Lady Eagles played Tuesday night, facing William Byrd in a Blue Ridge District semifinal. Should they have won that game (played after press time), they'll head to the district finals on Friday evening (6 p.m.) at Rockbridge.
The Lady Cavs face Heritage in the Seminole District Div. 4 final at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Should they win that game, played at Heritage, they'll go to the final on Friday (6 p.m.) to face the Div. 3 champ (either Rustburg or Brookville).