RICHMOND — When the Wise Central girls basketball team advanced to face vaunted Floyd County in Saturday’s VHSL Group A, Division 2 state championship, Lady Warriors coach Robin Dotson expected a challenge.
He didn’t expect his team to be stampeded. But that’s pretty much how he felt in the end.
Central point guard Logan Reynolds got shaken up in the waning seconds of the first quarter. While she sat out for four minutes being observed for symptoms of a concussion, the Lady Buffaloes built a nine-point margin that was the foundation for their 72-62 state championship victory.
“I felt like there were some circumstances that were beyond our control that played a big role in the game. And we’ll leave it at that,” said Dotson, who was making his fourth state title game appearance as a coach. “The fact that Logan Reynolds had to sit for a while and wasn’t allowed to play. That’s when the tide turned.”
Reynolds, who scored 13 points, had six steals and distributed five assists, was charged with a turnover on the no-call contact play that saw Floyd County’s Amanda Hollandsworth awarded with a steal and left the Central guard sprawled on the floor clutching her head.
“On one side of the floor I got elbowed in the head and I went down. Then I got head-butted again. I sort of blacked out and got dizzy,” said Reynolds, a sophomore who later got saddled with foul trouble when she was called for two charges in the third quarter.
Reynolds said she wanted to get back into the game “as fast as possible” but conceded that the Virginia Commonwealth University trainer who held her out of the game probably did so with the best of intentions.
Central fought back to within five points by the end of the third quarter. But Floyd County opened the fourth with a 12-0 run and the Lady Warriors fell behind for good.
Hollandsworth scored 26 points and corralled 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Buffs (28-2), who won their last state basketball championship in 2008. Christene Phillips scored 19 and Emily Boothe added eight points.
“That was one of the most physical teams we have played all year, by far,” said Buffaloes assistant Travis Cantrell, who serves as the sideline commander and public spokesman for his father, head coach Alan Cantrell. “We matched it and were able to kind of play through a lot of bumps and bangs.
“It was on both ends. We were giving it to each other. I’m sure it was a fun, physical game to watch.”
Hayley Wyrick scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Lady Warriors (28-2). She had four fouls when the game ended.
“Right now I feel a lot of hurt,” said Wyrick, a senior who attributed the pain not only to the loss but also to the end of her long association with her teammates.
“We won’t get to practice every day together and continue to spend this time together,” she said tearfully.
Central’s Laura Gipe had a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to go with her four fouls. Reagan Davis fouled out with two points, going 0-for-3 from the field and hitting a pair of free throws.
“It definitely was a physical game. I’m sure they probably feel the same way, but we definitely thought there were some calls that could have been made,” Gipe said. “They were getting points up on the board a little bit easier. But we did our best to keep with it and do what we did. We did the best that we could with it.”