Castlewood boys, girls put stamp on crowns in district tournament

George Thwaites • Feb 20, 2007 at 12:48 PM

CLINCHCO - Heading into the Cumberland District tournament championship game without point guard Patrick Fisher was a setback for top-ranked Castlewood.

But so far, you could hardly call it a catastrophe.

The top-ranked Blue Devils hit eight 3-pointers as they outgunned Rye Cove 64-47 at Clinchco Elementary School on Monday night.

War Eagles sharpshooter Adam Hood hit 20 points, passing the 2,000-point career scoring mark along the way.

The Castlewood girls, meanwhile, stroked nine from beyond the arc as they eliminated upstart Thomas Walker 75-60.

The snow-delayed Cumberland finals pushed this week's Region D tournament at Castlewood back a day. Playing the finals became an absolute necessity by virtue of the Lady Pioneers' upset of top-seeded Rye Cove in Thursday's semifinals.

"We knew the way the district was this year that we could probably play with anybody at any time," said Thomas Walker coach Janet Nelson, whose squad ended the season at 8-15 overall.

"Castlewood is the only team we didn't beat this year. So we feel like it's been a successful season."

Thomas Walker got an impressive 30 points in the post from Tiffany Gibson. The 5-foot-10 sophomore also pulled down 20 rebounds, 14 of which were offensive boards. Jennifer Burke added 13 points and Jessica Burke grabbed nine rebounds.

The Lady Blue Devils (17-7) started to bury the Lady Pioneers with an avalanche of 3-pointers in the final four minutes of the first quarter.

Lorren Evans, who led Castlewood with 23 points, nailed the first 3 with 3:35 on the clock. Castlewood added two more from Nicole Counts and another from Kayla Gordon. The Lady Blue Devils were ahead 26-28 headed into the second quarter. Thomas Walker never got closer than six points from that point.

Gordon tallied a trio of trifectas on her way to 17 points, including two consecutive 3s in the third quarter that, coupled with her following three-point play, put away Thomas Walker for good.

Counts hit two 3s on her way to 11 points, while Kelsey Addington hit one and finished with 11.

"We had four in double figures. Anytime you can do that, it's a pretty good team effort," said coach Barry Ruff, whose squad opens Region D tournament play at Castlewood tonight at 6:30 against Gate City.

"A lot of people don't think (Gordon) can shoot from outside. But she can really do it all."

Headed into Monday's championship collision with Castlewood, Hood was 16 points shy of his 2,000th. He finally surpassed it with a 3-pointer at 5:53 left to play.

"It's a huge, huge milestone," said Rye Cove coach Reagan Mullins. "He's a heck of a ballplayer. And it couldn't happen to a better kid."

Despite the stopped clock, announcement and subsequent ovation, the moment seemed strangely anticlimactic. That's probably because the Eagles were down 53-32 with an extremely remote possibilities for a comeback.

Unlike the girls' final, the boys' outcome changed nothing. Rye Cove (16-9) still opens with Gate City in Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal. Castlewood takes a bye to Friday's 8 p.m. semifinal, where it will face either Honaker or J.I. Burton.

"I thought the first half looked like both teams were getting ready for the region, not necessarily a district final," said Castlewood coach Aaron Williams, who got 18 points in the post from Brad McReynolds and 17 mixed-bag points from Chris Smith.

Point guard Ryan Meade hit three 3-pointers in scoring nine points for the Blue Devils. More importantly, Meade held the fort in the frontcourt while Fisher - who is rehabbing an injured knee in hopes of playing Friday - sat out the game.

"I thought Ryan really stepped up for us," Williams said. "But Ryan knows he has some good buddies out there. If somebody gets in a bind, we've got some ball handlers other than just the point guard."

Brandon Tomlinson added 10 points for Rye Cove.

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