RICHMOND, Va. — Sometimes you just have to believe.
“Not a person in the state gave us a chance against Brunswick tonight except those 14 girls on our team and our coaches.”
Those were the words of Wise Central basketball coach Robin Dotson after his Lady Warriors upset previously unbeaten Brunswick 57-54 in the VHSL 2A girls semifinals Friday night at the Siegel Center.
The Bulldogs (22-1) came in having won the 2A East final by 42 points over East Rockingham and had numerous victories this season by up to 60 points. But on this night, Central put a stop to all that running and gunning.
“We thought we could press and attack them,” Dotson said. “And we felt they didn’t have anyone who could guard Logan (Reynolds). They had to double-team her in the second half and that opened up some things for us.”
Reynolds finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one block and three steals.
“It was two passionate teams going at each other out there tonight,” she said. “We’ve played so many close games this season I think that helped us keep it together when things got tight at the end.”
The Lady Warriors (23-6) earned a second straight berth in the state championship game, which will be held Saturday, March 15, also at the Siegel Center. They will play the winner of Saturday’s contest between Gate City and East Rockingham, which will be played at 1 p.m. at Virginia-Wise.
“We didn’t get the job done last year,” Reynolds said of the Lady Warriors’ loss to Floyd County in last season’s championship game. “We’re hungry and I think we’ll be ready this time.”
The outcome against Wise was a stunning defeat for the Bulldogs.
“It was a very physical game,” said Brunswick coach Juliana Grant. “And it seemed that it went Central’s way most of the time. In the end it’s just the way basketball goes sometimes.
“We hadn’t been pressed at all during the regular season and most of postseason, so it was something that slowed us down a lot.”
Leading 8-6 after the first quarter, Brunswick went on a 7-0 run to start the second stanza and held an imposing 15-6 advantage.
But a 3-point goal by Central’s Reagan Davis began a 9-0 run for the Lady Warriors and they went on to tie the game at 15-all.
The half ended with the score knotted at 19.
Two baskets by Kayla Mulkey and one by Rion Caldwell put Wise in front 25-21. The Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 run to slip back on top 27-25.
The teams continued to go back and forth before the Lady Warriors ended the third period ahead 34-32.
Early in the fourth, Central held a 40-34 lead but again Brunswick answered with another run to get back to within one point.
The Bulldogs’ Myneshia Walker hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth to keep her team in the contest, but a dramatic trey by Davis offset Walker’s sharpshooting and kept the Lady Warriors in control.
With the score knotted at 51, Central hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute of play to preserve the win.
“It was an incredible effort by the girls,” Dotson said. “They showed so much heart out there. When Brunswick made their runs at us, the girls kept their composure, made big shots and hit those free throws.
“Our seniors hit big 3s for us and our freshman, Sophie Mullins, was a beast inside tonight.”
Mullins, who came off the bench, scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Mulkey added nine points, hitting 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Walker led Brunswick with 20 points. Teammate Bria Stith had a game-high 17 boards to go along with her 15 points.comments powered by Disqus