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The motto around Staunton River High School is “Be an 11.” The phrase refers to wanting to be better than a 10.
According to the VHSL’s official census, the school has a population of 1111 students.
It has also been 11 years since the Lady Eagles basketball team defeated Brookville.
That was until last Tuesday evening, when Staunton River went into the Bee hive to take a 50-49 overtime win.
Numeric coincidences aside, this was an impressive win that gave the Lady Eagles undisputed possession of first place in the Seminole District..
Power siblings Laquaksha and Shaniesha Robinson combined for just over half of the Eagles’ points, with the former nailing 17 and the latter getting 11.
Laquaksha also had 9 steals and 9 rebounds “She was all over the court,” praised Eagle Head Coach Kim Jones.
No doubt Laquaksha was a bit sore the next day, having gone toe-to-toe with the bigger-bodied Bees.
Shaniesha put on a tremendous end-of-game performance, nailing all of her points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Matching her older sis, she picked up 9 rebounds.
But make no mistake, this win was more than the Robinson show.
Sam Sublett kept the Bees from running away with the game, as she netted the only three buckets of the first quarter for Staunton River.
Sublett may have been the only Eagle who wasn’t bedazzled by the reigning Seminole champions. “We came out a bit shell-shocked,” noted Jones.
Eventually, Sublett’s mates came around, though they trailed by 8 points at the mid-point.
At the break, the team talked about limiting its turnovers and to playing less scared. Jones also pointed to injured team leader Kelly Jackson and told her charges to “pull it together for Kelly.”
Through a combination of good ball movement and wise shot selection, the Eagles turned it around in the third quarter.
Staunton River overcame the loss of defensive dynamo Jodi Salyer in the fourth quarter. Even though the Eagles’ book showed that Salyer had committed her fourth foul, the Brookville (and official) book said she had gotten her fifth.
As Salyer headed for the bench, “we were floored,” said Jones.
Lakisha Craghead, however, wasn’t fazed. She stepped up her game, helping control things and providing an equally fierce defense.
Amy Salyer provided possibly the key defensive play of the game, nabbing a steal on the wing when Brookville had the ball with 17 seconds remaining in overtime and was going for the winning shot.
Shaniesha Robinson had the game-winner, when she got the rebound and basket off a missed free throw by Craghead.
There are three things about this win that bode well for Staunton River.
First, the team showed that it can win big, even without Jackson.
Second, the victory came in front of the not-overly-friendly Brookville crowd.
Third, the team showed that it has what it takes to win the close ones.
In short, the Lady Eagles seem to be playing to win, rather than playing not to lose; a giant shift in mentality.
Eagles handle Amherst
Staunton River ran its Seminole record to 4-0 with a manhandling of Amherst. The final score, 49-28, was not reflective of the mismatch.
Staunton River backed off of its press after building an 18-0 first quarter lead. Additionally, Coach Jones substituted early and often.
Her players thanked her, as nearly every one of them got into the scoring scene.
Shaniesha Robinson led the scoring parade with 10 points. Amy Salyer and Jordan Merrill each had 6 points.
Merrill, who had been sidelined for the last couple of games, looks to be getting back in stride.
Forest shaky in early going
Jefferson Forest is shaking off the effects of its Christmas break.
The Lady Cavs went for a two-week stretch without a game (Dec. 22 - Jan 6), but are back into the fray.
The team returned to the hardwoods last Tuesday and lost a tough one to Rustburg, 48-47 as those Glass girls teamed up for 28 points. Gabby had 12 and Shannon had 16.
Gabby teamed up with Sammie Bogolin and Amani Ware to rake in a joint 33 rebounds.
Forest was paced by Rachel McKeague, who posted 15 points (including a pair of three pointers).
Renae Brooks added 11, as did Kelsey Clay, who dinged a trio of treys for the Lady Cavs.
A factor for the Red Devils, just as in their game with Liberty, was the free throw shooting.
The Rustburgians went 20-for-29 from the charity stripe, for an average of 69%. The Lady Cavs had fewer opportunities (17) and did less with those (9 made). Their average was 53% for the evening.
The loss to Rustburg was the second Seminole defeat, putting the Lady Cavs a pair of games behind league-leading Staunton River going into Friday night’s game between the two county rivals. Forest also hosted E.C. Glass this past weekend. The Hilltoppers, who will join the Seminole District next season, appear to be a power to reckon with, having beaten JF by a score of 62-47.
The teams played evenly in the first half, reflected by the 26-26 halftime score. The Hilltoppers went to town in the second half, however, on the strength of Dessi Dupuy’s game leading 19 points. Mary Grace Lemon added 14.
JF was led by McKeague’s 14 points. Becca Fath had 12, while Mandy Dix added 9.
Forest showed what it is capable of when it dismantled William Byrd 48-19.
Kelsey Clay had a break-out performance, scoring a game-high 18 points, including three treys. McKeague added 10 points and Fath pulled down 12 rebounds.
Head Coach Paul Redgate was heartened by the performance against Byrd. “We did a great job of keeping them outside the lane and holding them to one shot,” he stated. “I feel it was the most complete 32 minute game we’ve had.”
Staunton River hosts Forest this Friday night. JF heads to Wm Byrd on Saturday and to Heritage on Monday, Jan. 19.
Staunton River starts its second run through the District when it hosts Liberty on Monday.