Because of a rash of injuries, one can only wonder if Franklin County’s girls varsity team has enough ammunition to play postseason basketball.
Postseason play began Tuesday night for the Eagles on their home court with the Blue Ridge District tournament and continues later this month with regional tournament play.
The Eagles took a two-game winning streak into their debut game in the Blue Ridge District tournament against a Northside club that they’d defeated twice during the regular season.
FCHS is the No. 3 seed and Northside is the No. 6.
Lord Botetourt and William Fleming are the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, while Staunton River and William Byrd are the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds.
Friday night’s two semifinal games are set to be contested at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium. The finals are next week at Staunton River.
The Eagles finished regular-season play last week with a 33-point, 62-29 league triumph over William Byrd on Senior Night at Hawkins Gym.
FCHS (6-4 in the Blue Ridge District, 14-8 overall) has been without veteran point guard Brogan Dudley, a senior, since she tore her ACL in practice prior to the Eagles’ participation in the Knights Winter Classic. Not only did her injury const her half of the basketball campaign, but it will cost her all of the upcoming softball season.
Taylor Janney, a senior, had an injury to her hand/wrist and it unavailable, while third-year junior Alexis Carter is out for the season after simultaneously tearing her ACL and sustaining a rotator cuff injury in last week’s Blue Ridge District loss at William Fleming. Also, Carter will miss the outdoor track season, one year after qualifying for the Class 6 A girls state meet in the shot put.
“We got enough ammunition (for postseason). We can go seven deep. These girls have a lot of heart, they’ve got a lot of fight,’’ first-year Eagles head coach LeBryan Patterson said. “We showed that against Magna Vista (a 51-50 FCHS win on the road). It took everything that we had to compete in that game. They had one or two more pieces than we did, but our heart outweighed their hustle.
“I know we are going to compete,’’ Patterson said. “We’ve still got one of the best guards in the district (Mya Blizzard), one of the best forwards (Jayden Jamison) and, in my opinion, one of the best shooters (Ty’mya Robertson) and she has showed that for the last few weeks. We can and we will lean on them.’’
Blizzard, Jamison and Robertson are juniors, and sophomore Kameron Copeland has had a very productive rookie varsity campaign.
Jamison, who can play all five positions on floor, now becomes a low post presence. She exhibited her ability to close to the basket in the win over the Terriers by scoring a game-best 22 points.
“Jayden is a utility player for us…She is going to be solid in the post fort us throughout the postseason and we’ve got Kameron at the four (post forward),’’ Patterson said.
Friday, the Eagles, who defeated the Terriers (1-9 in the Blue Ridge District, 9-13 overall) for the second time this season, built their first 30-point lead at the 4:15 mark of the fourth quarter, 55-25.
With running time employed because of the 30-point spread as mandated by Virginia High School League (VHSL) rules, the Eagles also crafted advantages of 57-27 and 60-27. Just before the final horn.
Emillie McCaskill, a sophomore, led the Terriers with 14 points and Sophia Chrisley, a freshman, tallied 11.
Amna Becirevic, Cabria Mutz and Greta Walls accounted for four points.
Copeland finished with nine points and Blizzard netted eight. Also scoring were Jocelyn Shufelt with six and Arianna Belcher with three.
McCaskill and Chrisley each hit a 3-pointer for the Terriers.
Shufelt swished two treys for the Eagles, while Belcher and Robertson each made one.