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Hello, old friend.
That must have been on the minds of many players and fans of Staunton River and Jefferson Forest when the two teams faced off in a Region III (Div. 4) opener on Monday night.
The two are county rivals which played each other twice this season (JF winning both games). Lady Cav standout guard Kassie Hoag played for the Eagles until she transferred to JF prior to the start of this academic school year.
So, when the two teams met, there was little mystery.
In the end, it was the Eagles who pulled off the shocker, upending the Lady Cavs on the JF hardwoods. The final score of this emotional roller coaster was 50-48.
By any stretch of the imagination, this game should have belonged to Jefferson Forest.
The Lacy Cavs came into the game with a gaudy record of 16-6, while the River ladies stood 6-17. Two of the Lady Cav wins came over Staunton River. And those were not pretty, from an Eagle perspective. The first game ended in a 58-45 JF win. The second was a 60-28 trouncing by the Lady Cavs.
"This (win) shows how much heart they have," said Head Coach Kim Jones, of her charges. "They're intense even though we got beat by 32 the last time we were here."
It should be noted that neither of those games included River's team leader Brie Holdren, who was recovering from a shoulder injury.
Still, on paper, this seemed like it should be JF's game.
It could have been so, except the Lady Cavs never were able to deliver the coup d' grace, allowing the Eagles to peskily hang in there.
With JF up 20-11, courtesy of an Amber Evans trey, River went on a mini-run. Asia Stephens pegged a hook shot and Taylor Tester's steal ended in a bucket by Britney Cawley. Stephens' putback, Madison Meador's 12 footer and Tester's 4-foot turnaround helped bring the Lady Eagles within a point, 23-22 at halftime.
Cawley nailed a three-pointer to open the half and start a see-saw battle for the rest of the contest. That seemed to energize the Eagles as the Lady Cavs looked as though they were playing not to lose, as opposed to playing to win.
Evans tied the score with a long jumper, with a minute to play. Then, with eight seconds remaining, Holdren broke free from her defender and drove the baseline, with a clear look at the basket. Erin McKeague, shifting over in response to the lapse, had no choice but to foul Holdren.
The senior calmly drained both shots. JF had a last chance, but Tester made a huge steal to ice the game for River.
To the rescue
Holdren left the game at the three-minute mark, with JF up by a pair, having hurt her ankle. But Lauren Mitchell stepped up in Holdren's absence, driving the gut for a bucket and nailing a pair of free throws to keep things tight. "Brie worked hard all game, and when she was hurt, we knew we had to step up," Mitchell said.