Bees thwart Cavaliers' comeback
By Nathan Warters
Friday, February 29, 2008

DALEVILLE - "Don't foul 30." Lord Botetourt's players must have yelled that to each other a dozen times in the final minutes of Thursday's Region III semifinal game. Still, they couldn't keep Brookville's Brittany Campbell off the free throw line.
Campbell sank all eight of her foul shots in the final two minutes to help the Bees hold off a furious rally in a 55-46 state-playoff-clinching victory.

She whispered "balance, eyes, elbow, follow-through" to herself before putting up each free throw. Every one floated through the net.

"Did she hit the rim?" Brookville head coach Warner Dyke asked with a smile on his face. He knew the answer was no.

"That's what I'm saying. She's an 87 percent free throw shooter, and I bet that goes up to 90 percent in the fourth quarter," he said.

Campbell, one of three Brookville seniors, scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and senior forward Joyous Tharrington had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Bees (26-0) clinched their second straight Group AA tournament berth.

They face Waynesboro at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lord Botetourt High School in the Region III title game.

"We know this is our season," Campbell said. "We've had three girls who have been on varsity all four years. This team is a real special team, and I think that we know what's at stake.

"We're a very hard-working team, and I think we have what it takes to finish off undefeated."

The Lady Cavaliers (16-10) trailed by 19 at halftime, but their full-court trap coupled with a scorching shooting hand in the second half got them back in the game.

Brookville was outscored 14-4 in the first six minutes of the final quarter, and Lord Botetourt got to within 51-46 on Grace Blaylock's driving hook shot with 23.9 seconds left. It was the closest the Lady Cavaliers got since trailing 6-2 to start the game.

Campbell sank four straight free throws in the final 22.6 seconds to close out the victory.

"They said, 'Don't foul her,' and I told Joy, 'I'm going to post my man up,' and I said, 'Joy, just give me the ball,' and she did," Campbell said. "And they just kept fouling me. It was good. I'm glad me and Joy can get each other the ball very easily."

The Bees shot 53 percent for the game (20-for-38). They missed their first three shots of the before going on a 13-for-19 spree to close out the first half. Tharrington's stick back at the buzzer gave them a 31-11 lead at the break.

"As tournament time has gone on, we have been shooting very well," Tharrington said. "I think players just step up. For me, I know they are double-teaming me, so that opens up everybody else for wide-open shots."