‘Sad Ending’ For RC Girls

RC SENIOR guard Emily Galford looks for an open teammate while Waynesboro’s Mariela Ruiz guards her during the Wildcats’ home win last Tuesday. Galford scored 16 points, making three 3-pointers, and had three steals. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

RC SENIOR guard Emily Galford looks for an open teammate while Waynesboro’s Mariela Ruiz guards her during the Wildcats’ home win last Tuesday. Galford scored 16 points, making three 3-pointers, and had three steals. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

WILDCAT SENIOR forward Phynely Stores puts up a shot while surrounded by Waynesboro defenders. Stores grabbed 10 rebounds and scored four points. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

WILDCAT SENIOR forward Phynely Stores puts up a shot while surrounded by Waynesboro defenders. Stores grabbed 10 rebounds and scored four points. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

BREAKING AWAY from Waynesboro’s Jaden Sprouse is RC senior forward Graceon Armstrong, who led the Wildcats players with 17 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

BREAKING AWAY from Waynesboro’s Jaden Sprouse is RC senior forward Graceon Armstrong, who led the Wildcats players with 17 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Wildcats Fall In Valley Quarterfinals

The Rockbridge County High School girls basketball team won its final two regularseason games last week, but concluded its season Friday with a 53-46 loss at Broadway in the Valley District quarterfinals.

In Friday’s game, the fifthseed Wildcats (7-15) were hoping to upset fourth-seeded Broadway (7-16) in the tournament for the second year in a row, but the Gobblers held on to advance to the district semifinals Monday at second-seeded Turner Ashby and a chance to earn a berth in the Region 3C tournament.

“Friday was tough,” second-year RC head coach Misty Armstrong said. “There was an inclination that we might pull that one out like we did last year, but it wasn’t in the cards for us this time.”

The Wildcats played most of the game shorthanded after forward Phynely Stores injured her collarbone in the first few minutes. “Not having her experience on the floor was an obvious detriment,” Armstrong said.

The Gobblers started the game with a 1-3-1 half-court defense, which the Wildcats took a while to adjust to. RC committed several turnovers early on, as Broadway went up 13-6 after the first quarter before increasing its lead to 33-19 at halftime.

The Wildcats trimmed the lead in the third quarter and cut the lead to one in the fourth quarter. RC then switched up their defense, but Broadway made some easy layups to pull away for the win. Aliza Lokey led the Gob

Aliza Lokey led the Gobblers with 15 points, making three 3-pointers, including a clutch triple in the fourth quarter. Lindsey Wimer scored 13 points for Broadway, and Emma Bacon added 12.

Emily Galford led the fifthseeded Wildcats with 17 points, while Graceon Armstrong had 11 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks and three assists. Emily Mahood added eight points, five boards and two steals; Aiyana Cooper had seven points, seven rebounds and three steals; and Rachel Hines grabbed five rebounds.

The Wildcats shot just 29.1 percent (16-of-55) from the field and 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from three-point range, and they committed 14 turnovers.

Coach Armstrong said it was a “sad ending, but we will regroup and try again next year.”

The Wildcats will miss their three seniors: Galford, Stores and Graceon Armstrong.

“We are going to be losing three amazing seniors,” Coach Armstrong said. “I could write a book on those three girls, but they are all nothing short of wonderful. Their leadership, spirit and faith carried us through some rough spots and their athletic ability on the court will be missed for certain.”

Galford ended her career with 1,033 points, eclipsing the 1,000-point mark in the thirdto-last game of the regular season. Graceon Armstrong was a strong inside scorer, rebounder and defender. She will be playing volleyball for Bridgewater College next year. Stores was a solid all-around player whose leadership helped the Wildcats throughout the season.

Looking ahead, Coach Armstrong said, “The future looks bright. We have great players returning who are quick and eager to run and learn. We are progressing and building as a core, and with each season, I’m hopeful we will begin to see more wins. We have the offseason to prepare for, and hopefully get more girls playing some summer basketball.”

RC 52, WHS 37

Stepping up in their final home game of the regular season, the Wildcats earned a 52-37 win over Valley District rival Waynesboro on Tuesday of last week, improving to 2-8 in the district.

The Wildcats never trailed, jumping to a 5-0 lead and going up 17-6 at the end of the first quarter. Making shots, grabbing rebounds and using a defensive press, the Wildcats extended their advantage to 33-11 by halftime. For the game, RC outrebounded Waynesboro 40-32.

The Lady Giants, who went winless this season, picked up their offense in the second half, making some outside shots and outscoring RC 12-4 in the fourth quarter. However, the Wildcats’ lead was too large to overcome.

Before the game, the Wildcats honored their three seniors. All three played well, as Graceon Armstrong led RC with 17 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks; Galford added 16 points and three steals, making three 3-pointers; and Stores grabbed 10 boards and scored four points. Mahood scored 13 points and made six steals.

Cierra Bruce led Waynesboro with 13 points, sinking three 3-pointers, while Jaden Sprouse added 10 points and Mariela Ruiz chipped in eight.

The Wildcats forced 20 turnovers while committing 14.

With the win, the Wildcats completed a sweep of the regular-season series with the Giants. When the teams met on Jan. 24 in Waynesboro, RC won 50-26.

RC 36, LHS 27

In nondistrict action on Monday of last week, the Wildcats captured a 36-27 win at Liberty (Bedford).

RC had to play most of the game without Galford after she was knocked out in the first quarter. Other players stepped up in her absence, as Stores led RC with 13 points and grabbed three rebounds and two steals. “Phynely had a good game,” Coach Armstrong said. Mahood added 11 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Graceon Armstrong pulled down 19 boards and had 10 blocks, three steals and five points. Also contributing to the win were Rachel Hines with four points and Aiyana Cooper with three.

The Wildcats overcame 23 turnovers and poor free throw shooting, going 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from the line.

Madison Amos led the winless Minettes with eight points, while Machenze Flood and Sydney Dills each chipped in six points. With the win, the Wildcats

With the win, the Wildcats completed a sweep of the season series with Liberty. When the teams met on Jan. 11 at RC, the Wildcats won 53-26.

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