Brookville girls advance to semis at LB
Lynchburg News & Advance
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Brookville girls were admittedly shaky down the stretch Tuesday night. After all, they can probably count the number of close basketball games they've played this season on one hand.

But they fought through it, shaking off a turnover-plagued fourth quarter to beat Spotswood 56-49 in the Region III quarterfinals to get one win away from a state tournament berth.

"I think at the end you could tell we were a little panicky and frantic because we haven't been in that close of a situation in a long time," said Brookville center Joyous Tharrington, who scored 15 of her game-high 21 in the second half. "But we were able to keep enough composure to pull out the win."

Emilee Dunton scored 11 points, Nicole Stanley nine and Brittany Campbell eight for the Bees (25-0), who advance to the region semifinals where they will play at Lord Botetourt on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Carter Williams and Likishia Taylor both scored 12 to lead the Blazers. Brittany Wood added 11.

Brookville, the second-ranked team in Group AA, cruised through the Seminole District with few exceptions, the last relatively close game coming against Staunton River a few weeks ago.

It didn't appear the Bees would have trouble Tuesday night. Things opened up for Tharrington in the second half. Spotswood switched to a box-and-one defense on Campbell, giving Tharrington a one-on-one matchup in the post.

The Seminole player of the year capitalized on her height advantage, getting easy buckets on passes over the top of her smaller defender.

"We didn't really change anything," Tharrington said. "We were taking what the defense was giving us."

But Spotswood wouldn't go away. The Blazers trailed by 12 with four minutes left but hacked away at the Brookville lead with six straight points, pulling within 53-47 on a stickback by Brianna Mitchell with two minutes left.

The Bees looked frazzled, committing turnovers on six out of seven possessions at one point, but the Blazers couldn't get closer, misfiring on three open looks at 3-pointers on one possession that could have cut the lead to three.

"I was thinking if we could put that clock on double time I would be happy," Brookville coach Warner Dyke said.

Tharrington ended the drama with a pair of free throws with 20.2 seconds left that put the game out of reach, getting the Bees within a win of their second straight state tournament appearance.

They know the competition will only get tougher, but they aren't fretting it.

"We worry about ourselves," Tharrington said. "We know if we come out and do the things we can do as a team, we don't need to worry about the other team."