Ridgeview, Central cruise into C-40 girls final

Pat Kenney • Feb 17, 2017 at 12:15 AM

NORTON — Tonight’s Conference 40 girls tournament championship game will match the two schools who have won the previous three VHSL Group 2A championships. Ridgeview (18-6) will take on Wise Central (20-3) at 7:30 p.m. at Central in a contest that once again showcases what many consider the top girls basketball conference in the state.

The Lady Wolfpack are the defending state champions while the Lady Warriors won state crowns in 2014 and ’15. And as if they needed to prove their point, both teams didn’t just win their semifinals games, they won emphatically.

In the opener, Ridgeview’s smothering full-court press produced the desired outcome, a 72-42 win over upstart John Battle. Central followed that with an offensive outburst that overwhelmed Union 65-31.

After upsetting No. 2 seed Gate City in the quarterfinals, the Lady Trojans (5-19) crumbled under the relentless pressure from the Lady Wolfpack.

“We showed fear tonight and they took full advantage,” said Battle coach Jeff Adkins. 

 Ridgeview jumped out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back. Even when star guard Bailey Frazier went to the locker run for several minutes with a gash on her chin, the Lady ’Pack didn’t slow down. 

By halftime it was 35-18 and all over but the shouting.

“We started strong and finished strong,” said Ridgeview coach Donnie Frazier. “I thought we shared and shot the ball well and just really played hard.”

Nikole Counts led the Lady Wolfpack with 18 points while Frazier, who will require six or seven stitches to repair her chin, finished with 16.

Brittany Smith had 12 points and Michaela Monk 10 for the Lady Trojans.

The nightcap was more of the same as Central shot lights out from the outset and built a 21-9 lead after the opening quarter. By the end of the game, 10 of the 11 Lady Warriors who saw action made the scoring column. Six of them had six or more points.

“That’s about the best game we’ve played all year,” said Central coach Robin Dotson. “When you shoot the ball that well, it makes you look good.

“What I’m proud of is the way we came out in the third quarter and shut them down. That was big for us.”

Union opened the second half with a bucket at the 7:22 mark but managed just a lone free throw the rest of the period.

“Central is a good team and they came ready to play,” said Union coach Kory Bostic. “We showed our youth early and never recovered.”

Gracie Mullins had 12 points and Annie Church 10 for the Lady Warriors.

Abigail Webb led Union (14-10)  with 12 points.

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