HV girls surge past Brookville at HHS
By Nathan Warters
Lynchburg News & Advance
Saturday, February 24, 2007

 
Brookville's loss in the Region III girls basketball championship game Friday came with one very important consolation. It's still alive in its quest for a Group AA state title.

The Bees hung with defending region champion Hidden Valley for 30 minutes before the Titans pulled away in their 50-41 victory at Heritage High School.

"We have hope. We're able to go into the state tournament strong," said Brookville junior forward Brittany Campbell, who had nine points, seven rebounds and two steals. "This meant nothing. ? A win would have been really nice, though."

Sophomore forward Abby Redick, the younger sister of NBA guard J.J. Redick, scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Hidden Valley to its third straight Region III championship.

"I definitely think it's important (to win the region championship)," Redick said. "Our three goals at the beginning of the season were to win the (River Ridge) District tournament, the region tournament and the state tournament. We've accomplished two, and we've got one more to go."

Both teams advance to the Group AA quarterfinals next Friday at 7 p.m. Brookville, making its first-ever state playoff appearance, will play Region IV champion Virginia High - a 53-51 winner over Abingdon Friday night - at John Battle High School in Bristol. The Titans will host Abingdon.

Hidden Valley (26-1) out-scored Brookville 16-7 in the final 6:40 to break a 34-34 tie. The Titans did most of their fourth-quarter damage from the free throw line, going 10 for 11 in the final eight minutes.

Redick, guard Abby Oliver (12 points) and center Kylee Beecher (nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks) combined for 40 points and most of Hidden Valley's rebounds.

Oliver, the Region III player of the year, was in foul trouble early - she picked up her third foul with 5:36 left in the third and her fourth a minute into the final period - but Redick and Beecher picked up the slack.

"Abby Redick and Kylee Beecher were the difference factor in this game," Campbell said.

The Titans played tight man-to-man defense the entire game, closing passing lanes and guarding the perimeter like a Pit Bull defending it's cage. Unlike Thursday night, when Christiansburg's zone gave Brookville (25-3) all kinds of open looks, Hidden Valley didn't give the Bees much opportunity for quality shots.

"This was the first man (defense) we've seen since the last time we played Hidden Valley in the second game of our season," Campbell said. "Against a man defense, we have to move so much more."

Brookville made its shots count, though, battling back from a seven-point deficit with 2:43 left in the third to tie it 34-34 on a pair of Ashley Jones free throws.

The Bees thought they had the Titans on the ropes.

"(I thought) the same thing I think every night - that we're going to win," Brookville coach Warner Dyke said. "It was no different. It was tied at 34, and we're thinking, 'What are we going to do to win the ballgame.' Hidden Valley just did a little bit better job down the stretch."

The Titans broke the tie with an Abby Boggs bucket from the right corner, and after Jones made one of two free throws to cut the lead to one, Hidden Valley scored nine straight points to take control.

Redick scored five points in the run, including a three-point play on a hooking jumper while going out of bounds, and Beecher scored four.

Jones's three-point play got the Bees to within 45-38, but Hidden Valley went five for six from the free throw line in the final 1:30 to put the finishing touches on the win.

Jones led Brookville with 14 points and nine rebounds.

"I thought Jones hit some big baskets. She drove the ball aggressively," Hidden Valley first-year coach Mike McGuire said. "I thought players on both ends did a good job of identifying areas and making plays, and lucky for us, we just made a few more down the stretch."

Two of Brookville's three losses this season came against Hidden Valley. The Bees lost to the Titans 59-45 in the first meeting back in December.

If the two teams face each other again, it would be in the Group AA state title game, a possibility that isn't far-fetched according to Redick.

"I definitely think we can (see them again)," Redick said. "They can make a run. They can upset people. They're a great team. They're well-coached and I think they have the players and the ability to do it."