With just under three minutes in its 13th Region All “A” championship game at Oneida Baptist against the Cumberland Redskins, the Williamsburg Lady Jackets looked to be headed to their first-ever appearance in the All “A” State Tournament in Richmond.
But, disaster struck when the Lady Jackets failed to score another point and lost to the Redskins, 46-45.
“We just came up short,” said Williamsburg Jim Rains. “What beat us was the fact that we couldn’t keep scoring.”
And maybe the fact that Cumberland got all the breaks in the final minutes. Numerous times Williamsburg players were knocked down by Cumberland star Ashley Massey with no foul called.
Even on the final play of the game, after Massey had hit two free throws with six seconds left that put her team ahead by one, Williamsburg was unable to get the ball down the court because of the aggressiveness of the Cumberland defense.
Williamsburg senior Tosha Roberts was knocked to the floor but Jennifer Shelley was quick to pick up the loose ball. However, she too was knocked to the floor with no call made.
Rains, the gentlemen that he is, refused to blame the officiating in the final seconds. “Yes, I think that we could have possibly got a call but it didn’t happen but that’s not what made the difference in the ball game,” Rains said.
“We should have scored previously, we missed some shots were we could have scored that would have made the difference in the ballgame,” he added.
“They had the best player on the floor and they went to her in the last two minutes and she showed how good she really is,” Rains said of Massey.
Cumberland took the early lead in the game and led 7-3 before the Lady Jackets woke up and made a comeback to trail at the end of the first quarter, 12-10.
The second quarter was tied four times with the teams deadlocked at 19-19 at the half. Cara Rains forced the first tie to start the second quarter. Cumberland hit a three pointer to push out to a 15-12 lead but Kaitlin Faulkner matched the basket for the second tie.
Cumberland tried to pull away early in the third period with back to back three pointers and a 27-23 lead but Williamsburg caught the Redskins when Roberts hit a pair of free throws and Savannah Ruth scored from close range to tie the game at 29-29 with 1:55 left in the period.
The lead changed hands before Rains knotted the game at 33-33 with 7:03 in the fourth quarter, Faulkner then drilled a three pointer and Williamsburg was off and running. They were able to push the lead out to eight on a pair of Roberts free throws with 2:48 left. Roberts then missed a pair of freebies with 2:27 left and back to back turnovers cost the Jackets a trip to Richmond.
“You have to score points to win and we didn’t,” said Rains.
Jackets down Harlan
Williamsburg advanced to the finals of the tournament with a 42-33 win over the Harlan Lady Dragons.
The Lady Jackets eased out to a six-point lead when Kaitlin Faulkner and Tosha Roberts hit back to back three pointers for a 12-7 lead. A basket by Julia Apple pushed the Lady Jackets ahead at the end of one 14-8.
Roberts started the second quarter with a lay-up that put Williamsburg ahead by eight (16-8) but the Lady Jackets went cold from the field and scored only two more points in the quarter. Roberts hit a pair of free throws with 2:06 left in the period that gave Williamsburg a 18-12 lead.
A pair of three pointers by Brooke Parker allowed the Lady Dragons to tie the score at the half, 18-18.
Williamsburg struggled to score in the third quarter as well and fell behind 21-20 on a three pointer by Parker. The Lady Dragons led 26-22 when Roberts and Faulkner scored to tie the game.
A basket by Kendra Latham sent Harlan ahead at the third stop, 28-26.
The final quarter was all Williamsburg as the Lady Jackets outscored Harlan 16-5. Senior Cara Rains tied the score with a basket in the lane then put Williamsburg ahead for good with a three-point play at the 7:02 mark.
Apple scored off a rebound basket for a 33-28 score. Latham had a chance to pull Harlan within three but missed the front end of a bonus. Apple was fouled on the rebound and went to the other end of the floor where she connected on both free throws for an eight-point lead (36-28).
Apple, who scored six of her eight points, pushed the lead to ten (38-28) at the 2:10 mark and the game was Williamsburg’s to celebrate.
Harlan finally got on the scoreboard with :56 left in the game but trailed 41-30.
Parker led all scorers with 19 points while Latham added 13 points. Faulkner led the Lady Jackets with 12 points while Roberts finished in double figures with 11 points.
Cumberland 12 7 12 15- 46
Williamsburg 10 9 13 13- 45
Cumberland (46) – Cornett 9, Adams 6, Massey 16, Cornett 7, Letanosky 8.
Williamsburg (45) – Roberts 9, Shelley 10, Faulkner 9, Ruth 6, Woods 4, Rains 5, Apple 2.
Williamsburg 14 4 8 16- 42
Harlan 8 10 10 5- 33
Williamsburg (42) – Faulkner 12, Roberts 11, Shelley 4, Ruth 2, Rains 5, Apple 8.
Harlan (33) – Parker 19, Latham 13, Lawson 1, Jones 0, Curtis 0, Fields 0.