WISE — The Lady Warriors and the Lady Wolfpack left everything on the floor Tuesday night at the Prior Center.
In the minds of many, the two best defensive teams in Class 2 put on an electrifying show for the crowd of over 4,000 as Central completed a sweep of four games against Ridgeview this season, 50-48.
Central head coach Robin Dotson will take his squad to the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University for the fourth time in five years as they face Greensville County at 4:30 p.m.
Coach Dotson gave credit to the Lady Wolfpack not only for this game, but also for their entire season.
“Ridgeview is playing well. They’ve got quality players and quality coaching. We know each other so well; just hats off to them. It’s another one of those games nobody deserves to lose,” Dotson said.
The game was tight from the opening tip off and the level of play mirrored the Region 2D championship. Neither team had more than a five-point lead during the game.
In the last few seconds of regulation, the Lady Wolfpack got the ball on a Central turnover and had the opportunity to end it. Nikole Counts took a shot from just beyond half court. It was dangerously close, off the backboard, but no good.
In overtime, Bailey Frazier put Ridgeview up 48-47 with 2:58 remaining, but that would be their last basket.
Central’s Brook Porter made a huge assist to Olivia Mullins for a layup, putting the Lady Warriors ahead for good.
The Lady Wolfpack had one last shot with 6.5 seconds to go in overtime. The ball was on its way to Counts, but the Lady Warriors’ Brittany Mullins tipped it away to teammate Olivia Mullins as time ran out.
“I was like, ‘Well, we won.’ I was really happy and I wanted to cry,” Olivia Mullins said.
Junior Hannah Carter led the Lady Warriors with 19 points and six rebounds. Dee Cvetnich bucketed 12 points and had seven rebounds. Olivia Mullins had 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
On paper, both teams were almost even. The Lady Warriors shot 15-for-46 from the field and Ridgeview shot 15-for-45.
The Lady Wolfpack outrebounded Central 38-29.
Ridgeview committed 14 turnovers to the Lady Warriors’ nine.
The big difference was at the free throw line.
“It was a good high school basketball game. It probably topped the other one (Region 2D finals), even though maybe not as dramatically. They hit a few more free throws than what we hit. That was the difference in the game,” Ridgeview head coach Donnie Frazier said.
“I’m not saying we shot the ball terribly bad from the free throw line, but they shot it extremely well,” he continued.
Central was a near-perfect 18-for-21, while Ridgeview went 14-for-19.
“Credit them. They do a great job…probably the two best defensive teams in girls’ basketball. I talked to each one of their players as I went through the line and congratulated them. I know those kids. They deserved to win, they’re a good team,” Frazier continued.
Ridgeview was led by their senior squad of Counts, Bailey Frazier and Amber Taylor. Counts had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Frazier had 13 points and six rebounds. Amber Taylor had eight points and six rebounds and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. The Lady ‘Pack also features Shellby Rose, a senior who has seen playing time this season.
“They work hard. They show up every day. They put in the time. They’re a super group of kids. I hate to see them go. It’s going to be hard going in the gym next year and not seeing those faces, but it happens. Ridgeview basketball will still be there; we’ll still be grinding,” Frazier said.
As the Lady Warriors head up the road on Saturday to try for their third state championship in as many years, they look forward to the trip.
“It feels pretty good. It doesn’t get old,” Olivia Mullins said.
“There’s nothing like Richmond in March,” coach Dotson added.