Minettes, JF to meet on hardwoods

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Thursday's game is key

By Mike Forster

  Both teams are seeking that breakout win.  For one of them, it could take place this Thursday.

Liberty heads to Jefferson Forest for a contest between friendly county rivals.  On its face, the game seems nothing more than one between a couple of teams jockeying for a spot other than first place in the Seminole District.

Scratch beneath the surface, however, and the game has the potential to be much more.  Specifically, can Liberty overcome the stranglehold that Jefferson Forest has held on the Minettes for these many past seasons?  Or, can Jefferson Forest put together a quality win over a solid opponent?

The two squads have much in common.

-Both JF (11-4) and Liberty (9-5) have impressive overall records.  The last time both teams had a winning record during the same season?  A long time ago.

-Both teams have mediocre district marks.  JF is 5-3 while Liberty stands 3-5.

-Both have Achilles' Heels when it comes to Heritage and Brookville.  The Pioneers have topped JF once (75-34).  The Bees took the Lady Cavs twice (49-33 and 65-47).  JF's only other loss was to LCA.

The Minettes fell twice to Heritage (64-62 and 80-55) as well as to Brookville (67-43 and 63-40).

-Both teams can bring a high level of excitement to the mix.  This game has all the markings of a high-octane donnybrook.

Virtually every player on the team rosters is capable of shining moments.

For example, Jefferson Forest guards Cassidy Ratliff and Katie Cousins are well known for their pesky play on defense.  Each is capable of pulling off a boatload of steals in a game.

Both, however, are excellent on the attack.  Ratliff's shot is pure silk.  Cousins is a magician in dishing out the ball.  "Katie's happiest when making her teammates look good," is something her coach, Paul Redgate often says.

Liberty counters with Kasey Carr and Mikalah Jones, who are interchangeable at point and shooting guard.  Carr, a freshman, has deceptive speed and quickness. Jones, a year her senior, is not shy about ducking her head and driving through traffic.

Another aspect to watch is the battle in the paint.  Jefferson Forest's Amber Evans is drawing the attention of college scouts.  She'll also draw the attention of Liberty post players Nicole Smith and Jocelyn Thompson.  Evans is more of a finesse player, while the Liberty duet likes to flex its muscle.

Outside shooting by Liberty's McKenzie Tibbs, Lauren Morgan and Sammy Baldwin should match up nicely with JF sharpshooters Kassie Hoag and Erin McKeague.


Staunton Rive update

The Lady Eagles picked up a big win over William Byrd before Mother Nature stepped in to thwart their momentum.

The 53-41 win over the Terriers improved River's district record to 3-1, putting them in a tie for second place with Northside.  Lord Bot is 4-0.

Last Friday, alas,  Alleghany's trip over the mountain was delayed (until this Thursday) by snow-covered roads.

With a game against Rockbridge on Tuesday (after press time), the Thursday game against Alleghany and a Friday tilt at Northside, we should have a solid feel for where the Eagles will land.

Against Byrd, it was Brie Holdren who had the hot hand, pouring in 15 points.  The Terriers never really challenged as Golden Eagle Britney Cawley kicked in a dozen points and Lauren Mitchell added nine.