By MIKE DAVIS for the Daily Telegraph
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
STUART, Va. —
Richlands took the Lady Cougars to task Monday night in the Region IV, Division 3 Region Championship at Patrick County. The Lady Blues, in their third straight regional championship appearance, showed nerves of steel through intense Lady Cougar pressure to win the three-peat, 55-45.
“I thought we played reall well in the first half, we were playing good defense and getting after it,” Richlands head coach Dennis Palmer said. “Then, we got bogged down in the second half and tried to dribble the ball too much, but, we settled down in the last three or four minutes and was able to get out with a win.”
“These girls have been here before and they play good ball and they’re not fazed by the situation.”
Brittany Allen scored 30 points leading the Lady Blues’ attack including six three-pointers and she hit 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Rachel Alley and Makenley Davis scored nine points apiece for Richlands with all of Davis’ points coming outside the perimeter.
“Our girls didn’t do a good job finding Allen tonight,” Patrick County head coach Glenn Burnett said. “They’re high school kids and they don’t always believe what the scouting report says.
“We tried to explain that she can shoot the ball and like the report said, don’t dig and help, make sure you get the one (shooter), the two and the three and make No. 12 (Allen) go middle and don’t let her shoot the baseline.”
“Richlands has some great coaches and it’s a tribute to the way they play.”
The Lady Blues opened with a 4-0 run before the Lady Cougars pulled even half-way through the opening period. A short jumper by Richlands Rachel Alley and a deuce by Gracen Witt for Patrick County brought the game into another deadlock.
The Lady Cougars took their only lead of the night when Hannah Helbert scored in transistion with time waning in the first, then, Alley doused the celebration with a three-pointer at the buzzer to push Richlands back into the lead, 9-8 at the end of the quarter.
Allen opened the second with a trey and the Lady Blues went on a 7-3 run before Bri Dodson brought Patrick County as close as they would get the rest of the night with a three-pointer closing the score to 16-13 with 5:54 left on the second quarter clock.
That was all the spark Richlands needed and Allen and Davis hit back-to-back threes to stretch their lead to nine on their way to taking a 29-18 advantage into the locker room for the halftime break.
“The second quarter was what really hurt us,” Burnett said. “We would make a run on them and then, they would find a way to hit their shots and go back up, but, I’m proud of the way the girls played.”
The Lady Blues came out in the third frame and stretched their lead to 47-34 with an 18-point onslaught in the period. Allen kept getting the feed from her teammates, then, keyed runs with three perimeter shots in the period.
With the Lady Blues hitting on all cylinders, Patrick County was to stay in their diamond press to create turnovers in the fourth quarter. The maneuver worked enough to close the gap by eight with four minutes remaining, however, Richlands kept getting the ball into open looks and sealed the deal.
Dodson finished with 17 points including five treys for Patrick County and Helbert added 11.
Richlands goes into the state quarterfinals on Saturday against Brookville at UVa-Wise with the tip off slated for 11 a.m. and the Lady Cougars travel to JMU taking on Spotswood at 6:15.
“We have a few days to get ready (for Brookville),” Palmer said. “I hear they have a good shooter and a really quick team. They like to get up and down the floor so we’re going to have to be ready to play.”
At Patrick County High School
Brittany Allen 30, Makenley Davis 9, Rachel Alley 9, Cassie Richardson 5, Sarah Compton 2.
PATRICK COUNTY (45)
Bri Dodson 17, Hannah Helbert 11, Ebony Reynolds 8, Natalie Mitchell 4, Gracen Witt 2, Karleigh Wilkinson 2.
Richlands...........................9 20 18 8 — 55
Patrick County...................8 10 16 11 — 45