Bees survive JF girls despite battling flu bug
Lynchburg News & Advance
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even shorthanded, and under the weather, Brookville's girls basketball team is still tough to beat, as it demonstrated in Tuesday night's 42-30 Seminole District tournament semifinal home win over Jefferson Forest.
The Bees (23-0) will meet Staunton River, a 58-33 winner over Liberty in Tuesday's second semifinal, in Friday night's championship game at JF at 6.

Playing without starting point guard Emilee Dunton and forward Lindsay Sharman, who stayed home with bouts of influenza, and with coach Warner Dyke also feeling the affects of the flu bug, Brookville wasn't its usual dominating self. But the Bees held their own against the Cavaliers (17-7), led by Joyous Tharrington's 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Dyke played a limited role on the sideline and handed most of his duties over to assistant coach Heather Brown.

"We've had a lot of sickness," said Brown, who filled in for Dyke in running Monday's practice and addressing the team in Tuesday's huddles. "He stayed away from them because he doesn't want them to be sick.

"The girls didn't have their starting point guard, but they were still able to handle the pressure," she added. "They stayed composed and played really well together."

Brittany Campbell, who has shifted to the wing this season, made another adjustment against JF, running the point.

"She knew she would have to step up tonight and play the point guard position," Brown said. "She's very versatile ? and she did a very good job of leading the team."

Besides handling the ball in the backcourt and on the perimeter, Campbell sank all four of Brookville's 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Forest got 10 points from its point guard Mandi Dix, six points and four steals from Rachel McKeague and four blocked shots from Renae Brooks. It led 9-6 after the first quarter before being outscored 32-15 in the second and third periods.

The Cavaliers will meet Liberty (6-18) in Thursday's first consolation final at Brookville.

With a win, it will play at Northside and with a loss, it will travel to Robert E. Lee for Monday's Region III opener.

Staunton River 58, Liberty 33

Kelly Jackson and Caitlin Falls each netted 12 points and point guard Kisha Craghead added 10 points with three assists to spark Staunton River.

With Liberty still in contention late in the first half, Craghead drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing before Jackson made a breakaway steal and layup.

Moments later, after a Liberty turnover, Craghead swung a pass to Jackson at the top right of the arc for a 3-point swish at the buzzer that extended the Golden Eagles' lead to 37-17 at the half.

"I was very impressed with Kisha," Staunton River coach Kim Jones said. "The last couple games, she's been able to step up and hit a couple of outside shots and go to the basket under control and hit her layups."

Craghead also forced a few steals out of Staunton River's full-court press and helped turn them into fast-break scores.

"She's energetic and sparky on defense and creates a lot of turnovers," Jones said.

The Golden Eagles have become equally adept at scoring on transition as out of their half-court offense this season.

"That's (the fast break) one of our strengths this year and something we work on about every day in practice," Jones said. "Our post players are kicking it out to Kisha and she's getting it downcourt."

Liberty, like Brookville, also was affected by the flu, with two of its first players off the bench out sick and its backup point guard also unavailable with a knee injury. It was led by Joy Thompson's eight points.

"They just played better than we did," Minettes coach Andrew Kelso said. "When you have a layup and miss a shot, that's just like a turnover. We turned the ball over way too much."

After upsetting Heritage in Friday's quarterfinal round to earn its first Region III tournament berth under Kelso, the Minettes were unable to stage a similar coup against Staunton River.

"We've never been in this situation before," Kelso said. "It was a learning experience."

Jones has never beaten Brookville as a coach, but she's not counting the Golden Eagles out.

"This might be the time to beat them," she said. "When we play Friday night, we're not going to be afraid. It's going to be exciting."