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Grafton’s press dooms MHS girls

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Middlesex’s Ashley Williams (front, right) and Micah Reed apply defensive pressure in the December 29 loss to Grafton in the title game of the MHS Holiday Basketball Tournament. (photo by Tom Hardin)
by Tom Hardin

Group AA Grafton went on a 22-2 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Middlesex girls basketball team and capture the MHS Holiday Basketball Tournament on December 29 at the John S. Clements Memorial Gym in Saluda.

The Lady Chargers stayed close to Grafton in the first half and trailed 18-14 at intermission. In the third quarter, however, Grafton, wore down MHS with its full-court press and cruised to a 66-30 victory. 

The Lady Chargers defeated Northampton 46-38 in the semifinals on December 28. In the other semifinal, Grafton downed Tabb 58-47.

In the girls third place game, Tabb routed Northampton 57-33.

MHS 46, NHS 38

Senior center Micah Reed scored 15 of her team-high 20 points in the second half as the Lady Chargers held off Northampton 46-38.

MHS led 21-19 at the half and 34-30 after three quarters. Reed tallied 8 of the Chargers’ 12 fourth quarter points.

Megan Payne added 10 points for MHS, Jasmine Fells had 8, and Amanda Brown, Chelsea Lewter, Ashley Williams and Brianna Brooks had 2 apiece.

Grafton 66, MHS 30

After trailing by 4 points at the half, the Lady Chargers cut the Grafton lead to 20-17 on a driving layup by Brooks with seven minutes to play in the third quarter.

Grafton then increased the intensity of its full-court press that turned numerous Lady Charger turnovers into easy layups. Grafton outscored MHS 22-2 over the next six minutes to take a 42-19 lead. Two baskets by Amanda Brown in the final minute of the quarter cut the Grafton lead to 42-23, but MHS could get no closer.

“Mentally, we just weren’t in it in the third quarter,” said MHS coach Mike Lewis.

Payne led MHS with 7 points, Fells and Brown had 6 apiece, Reed 4, Williams, Brooks and Jocelyn Brown 2 apiece, and Latasha Cephas 1.

Tournament MVP Sydney Beasley led Grafton with 21 points, and Rose Mulherin and Jessica Ponce each scored 15.

“Grafton’s press took its toll on us,” said Coach Lewis. “They were fundamentally sound and had excellent interior passing. They filled the lanes on the fast-break and we didn’t get back in transition.

“The Grafton game was a good measuring stick for us,” said Coach Lewis. “We’ll continue to take it one game at a time and get ready for our next opponent.”

On Tuesday, the MHS varsity (6-3) ripped Rappahannock 58-27, and the MHS JVs (5-0) won 39-7.

The Lady Chargers will host King William on Thursday, January 7, in their Tidewater District opener. They will visit King and Queen on Monday, January 11.

posted 01.06.2010

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