RADFORD - As pandemonium raged around him, Glenvar coach Nick Stewart looked on in near shock as his Glenvar Highlanders celebrated a 70-60 victory over the number one team in the state, Floyd County.
"Words just can't describe it," Stewart said. "It's something we've worked for all year ... but for our girls to put that kind of effort out there, I don't know what to say.
"I tried to hide my emotions as best I can, but it was a little hard down there. We believed that we could play with them and we just had to hang on for 32 minutes."
Floyd County came out hot, with Krista Cox and Maria Kuchenbauer sinking two quick 3-pointers to help the Buffs jump out to an early 8-2 advantage. But Glenvar senior Jessi Strom's perimeter shooting sparked a 9-0 run by the Highlanders, giving them a lead they never relinquished.
"I was due for a good shooting night," said Strom. "I've been in a slump lately and just wanted to come here tonight and lay it all out. Floyd's been our number one target from the start."
Glenvar guard Kanisha Wiley managed the game well, fighting through double teams all night and helping Strom guide the Highanders to a 10-point lead at halftime. The Junior finished with 14 points.
"We just knew that we had to relax," Wiley said. "There was a lot of energy and we had to play smart and play hard and not let them get in their heads."
The Buffaloes came out with a vengeance in the third quarter, implementing a full-court press that helped spark eight straight Floyd County points.
But Strom came to the rescue once again, sinking her fourth 3-pointer of the game and quieting the run. The senior put up 25 points in her stellar night.
After a quiet first half, Floyd forward Amanda Hollandsworth turned it up after halftime. The sophomore scored 10 of her 16 points in the third, and worked with the rest of her team's bigs to ignite the Floyd fans.
"I've been with this group for three years," Stewart said. "And we seem to play better in big crowds whether its pro-them or pro-someone else. We strive off the energy in the gym, doesn't matter if they're all Glenvar fans."
The level-headed guard play of Wiley and senior Kayla Dehart kept the Highlanders calm on the court and kept their team on attack.
The Highlanders slashed to the basket throughout the contest, making it to the charity stripe where they were lethal all through the second half.
Photo by Matt Gentry, Roanoke Times
Stewart's squad sank 28 of 31, keeping the game out of Floyd's reach.
In the nightcap, Patrick Henry-Glade Spring managed to fight through the injury bug and hand a 69-50 loss to James River, joining Glenvar in the state tournament next week.
The Rebels took control of the game in the second quarter and dictated the rest of the way.
Cadence Wilmoth scored her 2,000th career point in the second quarter en route to a dominating 33-point performance.
"She's a great, great player," Rebels coach Tommy Thomas said. "She'll be the first to tell you that it's not just her and it's her team ... but she just doesn't ever want to lose. She works that hard because she never wants to lose."
The Knights just couldn't overcome Patrick Henry's size advantage, which forced them into taking long jumpers.
Still, led by junior Ashley King, James River managed to put together a 9-2 run early in the fourth to cut the lead to seven. King finished with a team-high 20 points.
Wilmoth regained control of the game and rattled off 12 points in the final quarter to seal the deal.
"A lot of people didn't look at us this year as a state runner-up because we lost two seniors that were phenomenal athletes," said Thomas. "But we've got young players who are stepping up and Cadence just makes everyone better."
The Rebels will go toe to toe with the Highlanders today for the Region C title. Tipoff is at 7:45 p.m.
Strom 7 7-7 25, Dehart 2 11-12 15, Wiley 5 4-6 14, Bixby 1 0-0 2, Wilbourne 1 6-6 8, Meador 1 0-0 2, McKee 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 28-31 70
FLOYD COUNTY (24-2)
C. Lytton 1 0-0 2, Cox 2 0-0 6, Bolt 1 1-2 3, Coartney 0 2-2 2, Kuchenbuch 2 0-0 5, Ingram 3 0-0 8, Boothe 3 2-2 9, Nolen 1 2-5 4, Hollandsworth 7 2-5 16, Phillips 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 10-18 60.
Glenvar 18 15 15 22-70
Floyd County 12 11 20 17-60
3-point-goals - Glenvar 4 (Strom 4), Floyd County 6 (Cox 2, Ingram 2, Kuchenbuch, Boothe). Total Fouls - Glenvar 14, Floyd County 26. Fouled Out - Phillips, Kuchenbuch.
JAMES RIVER (22-5)
Woods 1 2-2 4, Hufford 2 0-0 6, Barger 0 2-2 2, King 8 2-2 20, England 1 2-2 4, Hamm 7 1-2 15. Totals 19 9-10 51.
PATRICK HENRY-GLADE SPRING (22-4)
Uecker 8 6-7 22, Wilmoth 12 9-9 33, Yarber 2 0-0 4, K. Wilmouth 0 0-2 0, Copenhaver 3 2-2 10. Totals 25 17-20.
James River 12 11 13 14-50
PH-Glade Spring 11 19 22 17-69
3-point-goals - James River 4 (Hufford 2, King 2), Patrick Henry 2 (Copenhaver 2)
Total Fouls - James River, Patrick Henry 13. Fouled Out - None.