George Thwaites • Feb 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM

CASTLEWOOD — Castlewood is the capital of all things basketball in the Cumberland District. And it’s not even an incorporated town.

Lorren Evans exploded for 31 points as the Castlewood girls held off Ervinton 65-54 in the district tournament championship game.

The Blue Devil boys, meanwhile, combined for 14 buckets outside the arc as they overwhelmed Coeburn 91-65 in the title game.

Both Castlewood squads will open Region D, Division 2 tournament play next week at home. The Lady Blue Devils (17-6) probably will host Lee High in a 7 p.m. first-round game Tuesday night. The Blue Devils (20-4) are set for a rematch with Coeburn at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a whole day to celebrate. Then we’ve got to get ready for Lee High, or whoever it is we have to play,” said Castlewood girls coach Barry Ruff.

“People are going to underestimate us because of our size. But if we come out and play our type of ball, we’re going to be hard to handle.”

The Lady Blue Devils knew better than to underestimate Ervinton (16-10), a Division 1 diamond in the rough that is getting ready to shine.

“I told the girls before the game that the only thing this game meant was a tournament trophy. Next week is when this thing really starts,” said Lady Rebels coach Rodney Compton. “I think we’re probably going to get the No. 1 seed in our division.”

Kelly Rasnick led Ervinton with 27 points, while Nikki Mullins and Amber Farmer scored eight apiece and Chelsea Hill added seven.

The Lady Rebels fought back from a 12-3 deficit in the first quarter, getting six points from Mullins in the final 1½ minutes to close it to 14-12 headed into the second period.

That was Evans’ cue to start lighting it up outside. She hit four of her trifectas in the second quarter, with Kayla Gordon (17 points) adding another as the Lady Blue Devils took a 34-25 lead into intermission.

“A lot of people don’t want to come out and play us in a zone because we’ve got shooters,” Ruff said.

Ervinton cut the lead back down to two at 5:29 in the third quarter when Rasnick kicked the ball outside to guard Chelsea Hill, who knocked down a 3.

Castlewood started running the floor and got back in command, 40-34, by Katlin Wolhford’s transition layup at 3:03 left in the quarter. The Lady Blue Devils stayed out front for good, but never got very comfortable.

Evans jammed a finger on her shooting hand before the half. Despite having taped-up digits, she helped her squad hold the high ground with 11 fourth-quarter points — including an 8-for-8 showing at the charity stripe.

“We haven’t been able to put them away all year,” Ruff said. “They’ve got a great team, a good coach and an excellent ballplayer in Kelly Rasnick.”

Rasnick had 15 rebounds, also getting three steals and three blocks. Amber Farmer had 10 rebounds for the Lady Rebels.

Kelsey Addington distributed five assists and had five rebounds for Castlewood. Nicole Counts had eight rebounds while Shaina Hall hauled in seven.

In the nightcap, Coeburn unveiled a defensive look it hadn’t shown Castlewood before. Only a few minutes into the game, an official timeout due to an injury in the stands gave the Blue Devils several minutes to discuss what they’d just seen on the floor.

So much for the element of surprise.

Castlewood led 26-16 after the first quarter and roared off to outscore the Blue Knights 31-9 in the second.

Chris Smith led the squad with 15 points. Patrick Fisher scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists. Travis Carter scored 12 points while Seth Justice put up 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Ryan Meade had 10 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals. Ruben Rasnick and Ethan Collins had nine points apiece.

“We had really balanced scoring tonight. We were scoring different places and I thought the first half we played as well as maybe we can play,” said Castlewood coach Aaron Williams.

Andrew Adkins scored 23 points to pace the Blue Knights (17-8), who committed 23 turnovers to Castlewood’s 11. Andrew Pate scored 14 points while Brett Hall 13.

“That’s our eighth loss of the year ... four times to Castlewood,” observed Coeburn coach Jeff Adkins.

“So be it. We’re going to the regional. Coming back over here. But you know, you take care of business in your league and this doesn’t happen.”

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