By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 5 — Through two wins over the last two days, senior Emilee Weakley has scored 61 points and lead Luray to district wins over Central of Woodstock and East Rockingham. The Bulldogs are now 16-2 and ranked No.2 among Virginia’s Class 2 girls basketball teams, according to MaxPreps.com. Three games remain in the regular season, and Luray could clinch the Bull Run District’s regular season title with a win at Strasburg on Tuesday.
The Rams are the closest to catching up with the Bulldogs, sitting two games back in the Bull Run District going into Friday night’s action. With sophomore sensation Macy Smith and standout senior Madison Stinnette on the court, Strasburg makes for a formidable opponent — one the Bulldogs will likely face late in the postseason.
Strasburg, currently ranked No. 7 in Class 2, was one of only two teams to trip up the Bulldogs this season. The Rams captured a 53-39 victory in Luray on Jan. 12, while Weakley was out under COVID protocols. Luray’s only other loss came at the hands of Carroll County, 56-44, on Dec. 30. Carroll, a Class 3 school, is currently ranked as the overall No. 1 team in girls basketball in Virginia — across all six divisions.
Expectations are running high in Luray, but don’t talk about it too much. While many chatted about a “repeat” of last year’s 2A state championship prior to the season’s start in December, as the possibility actually draws closer, no one wants to mention it.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” one spectator was heard saying Friday night after a 64-35 win over Central, currently the fourth-placed team in the district.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-2 start in the opening minutes on Friday and lead the Falcons 29-11 at the end of the first frame. Weakley put on a scoring clinic — hitting a trio of three-pointers, three from the floor, and going 6-for-6 from the line en route to posting 21 points in the first quarter alone. The Div-II Shepherd University signee finished the night with 33 points — just nine away from tying her career, one-game high of 42, which she scored against Central two years ago as a sophomore.
Senior Avery Alger added seven points for Luray, while Central was lead by senior Emma Eberly with 14 points.
Saturday’s road trip to East Rock went much the same way as Friday night’s match-up with Central. Luray jumped out to 23-5 lead in the first quarter over the Eagles, but slowed down a bit in the second. In the last two games, Luray has scored a combined 52 points in just the first quarter — compared to a combined 17 points in the second frame. However, while the offense may have slowed down at points during both games, the defense never swayed.
While many focus on the explosive scoring of Weakley — now the all-time leading scorer in LHS history — one of the keys to Luray’s success is their stifling defense. By applying constant pressure on the opposing offense — many times full court — not only do the Bulldogs slow down and contain the scoring of their opponent, but they also force turnovers. Central turned the ball over 13 times in the first half on Friday, while East Rock committed five or more turnovers in each quarter on Saturday.
Weakley finished Saturday’s game with 28 points, followed by 17 from junior Jaidyn McClung. East Rock was led by 6’1″ freshman Haley Lucas with 13 points.
Luray’s tenacious defense, combined with Weakley’s offensive firepower and the Bulldogs ability to create second, third and fourth shots on offense, will be a tough combination to beat. Currently, the only 2A team ranked higher than Luray is Ridgeview High School in Clintwood.
Luray’s 63-25 win over East Rock on Saturday moves their district record to 12-1, tops in the Bull Run. Strasburg currently sits in second place at 10-3. A win on Tuesday night at Strasburg would give Luray the regular season district title and a lock on the No. 1 seed to host a quarterfinal matchup in the Bull Run Tournament.
Luray wraps up the regular season at the end of next week. The Bulldogs host Page County on Friday, Feb. 11 (tip-off 6 p.m. – followed by boys game at 7:30 p.m.) and then travel to Madison County on Saturday, Feb. 12.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Player of the Game“. (v Central Feb. 4)
Weakley exploded for 21 points in the first quarter against Central on Friday night, en route to a game-high, 33-point performance. The Div-II Shepherd University signee came within nine points of her career single-game high of 42 points, which she scored against Central two years ago as a sophomore.