True grit: Lady Eagles take Lord Bot to the max

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Shorthanded Riverites fall in OT

By Mike Forster

  Try telling the Staunton River Lady Eagles that they had no business being on the same court as Blue Ridge District powerhouse Lord Botetourt.

After all, the Lady Eagles were without University of Delaware signee Jodi Salyer.  The team captain and primo point guard was out due to a niggling injury.

The Lady Cavs, on the other hand, brought all of their big guns to the Staunton River gym on Friday night.  That arsenal included reigning All-Blue Ridge Player of the Year Jade Lewis and All-BRD returnees Kennedi VanRavestein and Emily Wampler.

The game did go to the Lady Cavs, 61-56, but the way it did so was far from what anyone might have anticipated.

For most of the contest, the game played out as expected.  Lord Botetourt seemed on its way to an easy win as the Cavs eased out to increasingly larger margins.

VanRavestein hit a trey and Lewis put up a layup to give Lord Bot a 26-14 edge as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

With the Lady Cavs' smothering defense limiting the Eagles to five points in the first quarter and nine in the second, this one seemed safely in the hands of the visitors from Botetourt.

The Lady Cavs kept the difference in the teens until midway through the third quarter.  That's when River's Brie Holdren nailed a pair of three-pointers, before dishing off to Addie Tuck for an eight-foot pull-up.

Suddenly, the Lady Cav lead was eight.  Suddenly, the Lady Cav bench looked a bit worried.

Holdren opened the fourth quarter with a 12-footer.  Shaniesha Robinson then caught fire, providing a put-back and a layup.  Lauren Mitchell then bombed a three-pointer from waaaaaay outside.  Robinson's putback made it a three-point game, with 1:30 left.

Robinson then stuffed Wampler's layup attempt and got another putback on a miss by Holdren, to draw her Eagles within a point.

Kassie Hoag nailed a free throw to knot things up at 46, apiece.  It was the first time Lord Bot hadn't led since it grabbed the edge 40 seconds into the game.

Hoag pegged an eight-footer to kick off OT, but Wampler converted a three-point play to reestablish the Lord Bot lead.

Wampler was the difference in OT, as she drove the baseline for another bucket and hit six of her eight free throw attempts. 

"I can't even fuss at them," said SR Head Coach Kim Jones of her charges.  "They could have folded, but played hard to the very end."

Point guard Meghan Catron led the way for the Bots, with 19 points.  Wampler had 17, while Lewis added 16.

Holdren and Robinson were the big dogs for River.  Holdren had 16 points, on the strength of four treys.  Robinson fought for every one of her 18 points.

The loss gives River a district mark of 2-1, while Lord Bot is in the driver's seat at 3-0 in Blue Ridge play.