Darned if he wasn’t right about that.
Hayley Wyrick scored 27 points to lead the Lady Warriors to a 59-29 win over Virginia High in Thursday night’s Region D, Division 2 semifinals at Castlewood High School.
“They did what they do. Wise is a great team, guys,” said Goforth, whose leading scorer, Teonna Austin, got in early foul trouble and was held to one point.
Wyrick wept in the team huddle after the game. Last year, the Lady Bearcats (15-13) eliminated the Lady Warriors in the semifinals. The year before that, Wyrick felt the sting of J.J. Kelly’s failure to make it into the state tournament.
“I think those were tears of joy. It’s like there’s a weight off our shoulders,” said Wyrick, who led Central on the boards with 11 rebounds and collected four steals.
The Lady Warriors (25-1) will face Gate City in Saturday’s Region D, Division 2 title game. The Lady Blue Devils (17-11) held off Grundy 54-42 in Thursday’s semifinal nightcap.
Both Central and Gate City are guaranteed berths in the VHSL Group A, Division 2 state quarterfinals next weekend.
Lady Warriors coach Robin Dotson said advancement was a greater motivator than revenge.
“We were playing for a berth in the state tournament. We really didn’t care who it was,” said Dotson, whose squad forced 28 Virginia High turnovers. “I was very proud of our defensive effort and our effort on the boards. I think we only gave up five offensive rebounds to a much bigger team.”
Not that Goforth didn’t deploy his size to good use. Savannah Jacobs, a 6-foot-3 post, blocked five Central shot attempts in the first half. Fellow six-footer Morgan Whittemore, who reportedly broke her jaw during the game, blocked two in the first half.
Wyrick and Logan Reynolds were both knocked akimbo on more than one occasion. They were unfazed.
“Hayley’s just relentless. You could slap her in the face and she’d come right back and say ‘give me some more.’ She’d just keep going at it. And Logan is the same way,” said Dotson.
Central’s offense got a major boost from guard Reagan Davis, who drained three timely 3-pointers on her way to 13 points.
“It was perfect timing and perfect passes from my teammates,” said Davis, a junior.
Laura Gipe had seven rebounds for Central. Reynolds had seven assists and six boards.
In the nightcap, Gate City got 20 points from Jordan Gose as the Lady Blue Devils prevailed over a big and physical Grundy squad.
“I feel a lot better. This game was one of our hardest ones this season. We knew we had to bring everything and that’s what we did,” said Gose, who scored eight points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.
Twin sister Morgan Gose, who sat out the third quarter in foul trouble, scored all 12 of her points in the final stanza. Kaely Gose scored 10 points. Jordan Houseright scored five points but was most significant as a countermeasure to the Golden Wave’s collective size in the frontcourt.
“It’s hard to get to the state tournament. I don’t care who you have back, or anything like that. To get here is hard,” said Gate City coach Kelly Houseright, who led the Lady Blue Devils to a state runner-up finish last year.
Morgan Hall scored 15 points to lead Grundy (20-6).