It wasn’t difficult to pinpoint what plagued Patrick Henry High School’s girls basketball team in the final two quarters of Saturday night’s game.
Turnovers and missed shots piled up, rebounds weren’t to be had and Glenvar’s shooters got hot.
It equaled disaster for the Rebels as they dropped a 54-39 decision to Glenvar in the finals of the Region C, Division 2 tournament at Radford High School
PH (22-5) managed just 17 second-half points, allowing Glenvar (22-4) to pull away over the final 16 minutes.
“We got down and got frustrated,” said Patrick Henry junior Jaymee Copenhaver. “We lost our heads a little bit.”
Patrick Henry actually led 24-19 in the early moments of the third quarter, but Glenvar ripped off a 17-2 run to take control.
While the Highlanders had a distinct height disadvantage, they made up for it with a swarming, aggressive defense that constantly disrupted Patrick Henry’s passing lanes.
“We were second-guessing ourselves and we were about half a second late with our passes,” said Patrick Henry coach Tommy Thomas. “We played very intimidated tonight I think. We had a very good first half. We came out in the second half and when they hit a couple of shots it kind of put us back on our heels.
“We changed what we wanted to do and never did regain it.”
Glenvar also crashed the boards with reckless abandon and dared Patrick Henry to shoot from the outside.
“We really lost focus for a while and forgot what got us here. We started trying to shoot 3s,” Thomas said. “We had 14 rebounds in the first half and four in the second.”
Cadence Wilmoth led Patrick Henry with 16 points, while Kasey Uecker (12 points) also scored in double digits. Wilmoth had scored 32 and 33 points in Patrick Henry’s first two regional tourney victories, but couldn’t get in any offensive rhythm against the Highlanders.
“We had a gameplan to try to limit Wilmoth – I don’t think anybody can really stop her – we tried to limit her and make some of the ones who maybe aren’t the scorers really score,” said Glenvar coach Nick Stewart. “We tried that and it worked.”
There was also another key to the Highlanders’ blueprint for winning.
“We really wanted to speed the game up,” Stewart said. “We like to get up and down and run and gun and it worked out for us. We got Patrick Henry in a pace maybe they weren’t comfortable playing.”
Perhaps no team that’s qualified for the state tournament has shown as much resolve as Glenvar. The Highlanders suffered a 77-35 beatdown at the hands of Floyd County in the finals of the Three Rivers District tournament and entered the regional tournament as the fifth seed.
They responded by going on the road and winning at Chilhowie in the first round, stunning Floyd County and avenging that embarrassing loss in Friday’s semifinals and then hoisting the regional championship trophy on Saturday.
Kayla DeHart led Glenvar with 18 points, while Jessi Strom and Kanisha Wiley added 11 points apiece.
“In our better games this year we’ve had more balanced scoring,” Stewart said. “That’s when we’re at our best. It was a good game to be balanced.”
For Patrick Henry accepting the runner-up trophy was painfully familiar. The Rebels were the regional and state runner-up last year in hoops and finished second in the regional volleyball tournament back in November.
The Rebels will face Region D champion Gate City in the state quarterfinals next weekend.
“We really wanted to win [the regional title] this year,” Copenhaver said. “It’s a bad feeling, but we’ve got to keep playing.”