They will be making the trip once again after knocking off Virginia High 51-35 in the VHSL Class 2 basketball semifinals Tuesday afternoon inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center at Virginia-Wise.
Wise Central advanced to its fourth state title game in five years and fifth in the past seven. On Friday inside the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth, the Lady Warriors aim for a championship repeat when they take on Buffalo Gap, which edged George Mason 36-35 on Tuesday.
“We shut down a really good offensive team tonight,” Central coach Robin Dotson said. “We knew what they wanted to do going in and we needed to shut down the 3-point shooters.”
Senior guard Gracie Mullins led Central with 15 points, and Hannah Carter and Brook Porter each chipped in with 10.
“This is what we’ve been working for all season,” Mullins said. “I’ve dreamt about this since I was a little girl in youth league basketball. I just want to finish off my season with a championship.”
Junior forward Dee Cvetnich fell one point short of a double-double, finishing with nine points and 15 rebounds.
“We wanted to get back to Richmond,” Cvetnich said. “I was a little frustrated in the beginning, missing some free throws — but we started to get going.”
Interestingly, Central did not make a 3-point basket in the game, going 0-for-11.
Taylor Owens had a game-high 18 points for Virginia High.
The Lady Warriors and Lady Bearcats came out timid at the start, and neither could make a basket early.
The tough Virginia High defense had a couple of early steals and was speeding up the game to where the Bearcats wanted it. Central was wanting a halfcourt game with lots of defense.
The Lady Bearcats took a 9-8 lead on an Owens 3-pointer as time expired in the first period.
Mullins had a solid opening quarter, but the Lady Warriors needed to get Cvetnich going to help ease the pressure on their guards.
CENTRAL GETS GOING
The Lady Warriors, after briefly trailing, went back up at the beginning of the second quarter and the offense started to click.
Cvetnich got a few baskets underneath the goal and the Lady Warriors also got in the single bonus with over three minutes left in the half.
Brittany Mullins, Carter and Porter all got in on the action for Central in the quarter, and Wise led 28-19 at the half.
GROWING THE LEAD
The Lady Warriors showed no let-up at the start of the second half and expanded their lead to 12 points before third quarter’s end.
Wise’s suffocating defense and waves of substitutes eventually wore out the Lady Bearcats.