Franklin County’s Taylor Greenway catches a pass in the post during the first half of the Eagles’ 81-36 victory over Stafford in the first round of the Northwest Region girls’ basketball tournament Saturday at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium. (Staff Photo by Steven Marsh)
Monday, February 18, 2013
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
Charmaine Hairston netted a game-best points total Saturday, but it was her younger sister who took Franklin County to a scoring level the Eagles had yet to reach this season until the opening round of the Northwest Region girls' basketball tournament.
T.T. Hairston, a sophomore who received a promotion to the varsity squad for postseason play for the second year in a row, hit a pair of free throws for her only points in the closing seconds.
But those two makes enabled the Eagles to break the 80-point mark for the first time this season, and they capped FCHS's 45-point, 81-36 rout of Stafford at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium.
The Eagles (17-6) led by 30 points, 45-15, at intermission, and pushed the spread to 40, 55-15, by tallying the first 10 points of the second half. The 45-point difference at game's end marked FCHS's largest lead.
Charmaine Hairston, who ranks second in career scoring in girls' basketball at FCHS, finished with 27 points, 12 in the first half, 15 in the second, to raise her career total to 1,237.
Stafford (8-16), the Commonwealth District's No. 3 seed, ends its season with the loss.
The Eagles advance to Tuesday night's quarterfinals with the win.
FCHS will travel to Dumfries to take on Cardinal District champion Potomac, a team that defeated the Eagles by two points, 48-46, in December in Northern Virginia.
"We're ready for a trip to Potomac. It's time for payback,' Hairston said. "We had them (in December). We're ready for them. We're ready to go at it.'
"It's amazing how things have come full circle. We're right back where we started from,' Eagles bench boss Anne Crutchfield said. "If anyone ever wondered why we travel like we do (during the regular-season), it's to get ready for this (regional tournament play).'
FCHS played regular-season games in Northern Virginia, Baltimore (Md.) and Bristol, Tenn. this season.
The Eagles and the Panthers are past regular-season and postseason rivals. In fact, FCHS defeated Potomac in Dumfries in its first Northwest Region tournament game back in 2003.
"Potomac is going to be a tough opponent,' Crutchfield said noting that the Panthers feature two 6-foot-3 players. "We are going to face the size that we very seldom see in this part of the state. (Saturday's) match-up was a good one for us (Stafford's tallest player, 6-foot-2 Samantha Thompson did not make the trip). When we don't give up six inches to somebody, we can typically run with most anybody.
"I think it's a good match-up for us because we've played them at Potomac each of the last three years and it's not an unfamiliar place to us. I'm pleased with the position we are in,' Crutchfield said.
Familiarity could play to the Eagles' advantage the rest of the way. Also on their side of the regional bracket are Battlefield and Colonial Forge, both of which the Eagles defeated this season. Stonewall Jackson, Forest Park, two teams FCHS has played in past regionals, and William Fleming are on the other side of the tournament draw.
The Eagles are 7-9 (4-3 at home, 3-6 on the road) in 16 regional tournament games. Saturday marked the seventh time that the Eagles played a team from the Commonwealth District in the tournament.
FCHS's win Saturday was probably good for its psyche considering the results of its three previous games.
•A three-point overtime loss to William Fleming in a neutral-site playoff game with the Western Valley District championship resting in the balance.
•A one-point tournament semifinal win over a George Washington-Danville team it routed twice during regular-season play.
•A two-point loss to William Fleming in the tournament's championship game when a basket at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime was waved off.
"We had a lot of stuff built up, but we're getting back on track, getting back to our regular self,' Hairston said.
"It didn't take us long to get over (the loss in the championship game of the tournament). We knew that there is more important stuff coming up, so we had to put that behind us and just play.' Hairston said.
"I think anybody who was at (the last William Fleming game) knows that bucket should have counted,' Crutchfield said.
"I think our kids handled that situation with tremendous poise. As soon as the game was over when we went back in the locker room, both Zarkia Mattox and Charmaine Hairston stepped up as leaders and said, 'We can't undo what just happened. We've got to keep the big picture in mind. We want to make a run to the state tournament, so we're going to focus on Saturday.' '
"What was most important for us today was to go out and play well -- play the style of basketball that has gotten us to this point. I felt like we haven't been at full steam or 100 percent since we beat William Fleming (in the first regular-season game 77-50),' Crutchfield said. "Today we had everyone where they needed to be.
"We were firing on all cylinders and that's what made the difference,' Crutchfield said. " When we play to our potential, winning usually takes care of itself.'
The Indians made a multitude of turnovers, both forced and unforced, against the Eagles' trapping-style pressure.
Stafford netted four of the game's first five points and was ahead 6-4 in the first quarter before FCHS produced a 23-2 run that took the game into the second stanza.
The count was 30-13 after a 3-pointer by Stafford's Alexus White, then FCHS finished the half on a 15-2 run.
Miranda Crockett, Brianna Taylor, Mattox, Hairston and Erinn Brooks accounted for the Eagles' points during the first run. Crockett, Taylor, Marisa Brooks and Hairston supplied the points during the second spurt.
Trailing 58-17, Stafford scored seven straight points, but the Eagles would close the third quarter with eight in a row, seven of which Hairston scored in lightning-fast succession.
FCHS limited Stafford to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters and scored more than 20 points in each of those stanzas.
The Indians netted 12 points in the fourth quarter, but still lost the period by three.
A Hairston basket following a 3-pointer by Stafford's Kendall Parker enabled the Eagles to break the 70-point mark for the 11th time this season.
The Eagles were able to overcome a 20 of 36 showing from the free-throw line -- 13 of their 16 misses came in the opening half.
Can the showing be excused in a 45-point win?
"We never really excuse missed free throws. For us, we have consistently throughout the season had difficulty at times from the line. The kids and the coaches know it's mental. During practice, we make those free throws on a daily basis,' Crutchfield said.
"We tell our kids that when you go to the line, you've got to have confidence that your going to make (the free throw). Just relax and shoot the ball,' Crutchfield said.
Eight players scored for Stafford, whose roster included just one senior, none of whom were in double figures.
Parker, who tallied 44 points in the Indians' win over Mountain View in the consolation game of the Commonwealth District tournament, a win that enabled Stafford to earn its regional berth, was limited to a team-best eight points. She scored her team's first points before picking up two fouls in the first quarter which sent her to the bench.
Parker scored half of her team's 12 fourth-quarter points.
Crockett finished with 14 points for the Eagles, while Taylor netted 13 and Mattox tallied 10. Five other players contributed points to the victory.
TIP-INS: In what may have been a regional tournament first, FCHS played three sets of sisters in Saturday's victory.
Besides Charmaine and T.T. Hairston, Marisa and Erinn Brooks and Brianna and Mikayla Holland also saw action.
The Brooks sisters scored four points each with two. Mikayla Holland, like T.T. Hairston, was promoted to the varsity squad for postseason play.
•Danville defeated Albemarle, 54-49, Saturday to advance to Tuesday's quarterfinals.
STAFFORD -- 8/7/9/12 -- 36
FRANKLIN CO. -- 23/22/21/15 -- 81
STAFFORD (36) -- White 2 0-0 5, Pennant 2 0-0 4, Parker 3 1-2 8, Hill 2 0-3 4, Kithcart 1 2-2 4, McCoy 1 0-0 2, McCord 0 0-0 0, Epps 3 1-6 7, Reiley 1 0-0 2. 15 4-13 36.
FRANKLIN CO. (81) -- T. Hairston 0 2-2 2, C. Hairston 10 6-10 27, Crockett 6 2-6 14, Mattox 5 0-2 10, M. Holland 0 0-0 0, Dudley 0 0-0 0, M. Brooks 1 0-0 2, Mitchell 2 3-4 7, Taylor 4 5-8 13, E. Brooks 1 0-0 2, B. Holland 0 0-0 0, Greenway 1 2-4 4. Totals: 30 20-36 81.
Halftime score: 45-15 Franklin County. Three-point goals: Parker (S), White (S). C. Hairston (FC). Total fouls: Stafford 23, Franklin County 15. Fouled out: Reiley (S).
IN REGIONAL PLAY
@Potomac (2003) Won*
Woodbridge (2003) Lost**
@North Stafford (2004) Lost*
@Brooke Point (2005) Won*
@Potomac (2005) Lost**
Woodbridge (2006) Won*
@Brooke Point (2006) Won**
Forest Park (2006) Lost***
@Riverbend (2008) Lost*
Riverbend (2009) Won*
Forest Park (2009) Lost**
@Forest Park (2010) Lost*
@Colonial Forge (2011) Lost*
Osbourn Park (2012) Won^
@Stonewall Jackson (2012) Lost*
Stafford (2013) Won