WISE — Anyone who saw the snowflakes flying through the air on Saturday knew that Old Man Winter wasn’t quite finished.
And anyone who saw the Clintwood girls basketball team flying around inside the Prior Convocation Center on the campus of Virginia-Wise knew that the Lady Greenwave weren’t done yet either.
Not by a long shot.
Clintwood overcame a slow start by firing up its transition game in the second half. After trailing by a point at halftime, the Lady ’Wave started the third quarter on a 12-2 run and left Northwood in their wake en route to a 55-34 victory in the VHSL Group A, Division 1 quarterfinals.
Clintwood punched its ticket to Richmond, where it will face Altavista on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Siegel Center in the semifinals.
“It had been 24 years since we had won a region. It’s huge for us to get up there and experience what’s going to happen at the Final Four,” Clintwood coach Donnie Frazier said. “Now we feel like we’re dancing.”
But in the early stages of Saturday’s contest, dancing was the furthest thing from Frazier’s mind. The Lady Greenwave seemed to feel the pressure under the bright lights and managed just three points in the first quarter. By halftime, they had turned over the ball 13 times and were shooting at a 20 percent clip.
“We did what we were hoping we wouldn’t. We came out tight,” Frazier said. “We looked at the shot chart and just missed multiple shots from point blank.
“The nerves just got the best of us. But once we had a chance to think about it at halftime and get back to doing what we wanted to do, which was get out and run, that was the difference in the game.”
Fortunately for Clintwood, Northwood didn’t fare much better in the first half. The Lady Panthers committed 20 turnovers over the first two quarters, allowing the Lady ’Wave to go to the locker room down just one point.
Once the second half started, Clintwood was able to get out and running as Northwood’s shooting took a nosedive. The Lady Greenwave grabbed long rebounds on the defensive end and fired outlet passes to streaking guards who converted them into layups more times than not.
“We’ve watched film on (the Lady Panthers), and they’ll hang around after a defensive rebound and try to trap you,” Frazier said. “So whoever got the rebound, we wanted eyes down the floor and everyone else was running. We shared the ball and hit layups.”
By the end of the third quarter, Clintwood was up by 10. Another eight-point burst to start the fourth effectively put away the game.
The Lady Panthers hit just four shots in the second half and shot 18 percent for the game. The performance seemed to leave Northwood coach Tammy Gillespie at a loss for words; she departed without comment.
Katlyn Phillips led Clintwood with 16 points and Taylor Fleming added nine points and seven rebounds. Kayla Mullins pulled down 10 boards for the Lady Wave to go with her five points.
Tayler Broyles paced Northwood offensively with 12 points. Heather Crawford had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Panthers.