LURAY, Nov. 27 — The Luray Bulldogs dominated the fourth quarter against the Blue Streaks of Harrisonburg in Monday night’s season opener. However, it wasn’t quite enough to overcome a 10-point deficit heading into the final frame. The non-district, Class 3 opponent traveled back to the Friendly City with a narrow 53-50 victory.
Luray outscored Harrisonburg 14-11 in the opening eight minutes, and closed out the game on an 18-11 run in the final eight minutes. Sophomore Ella Parlett and senior Emily Donovan accounted for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 14 points in the first quarter, but Luray would only hit two baskets in the second. After a slow start in the first, Harrisonburg went on a 17-6 streak in the second to carry a 28-20 lead into halftime.
Luray then started the second half sluggish with only two baskets in the third quarter. Six-for-eight shooting from the free throw line kept the Bulldogs close, with the Streaks winning the third 14-12 — increasing their overall lead to 42-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Donovan scored Luray’s first three baskets in the final period, and nine of Luray’s 18 points overall in the fourth. After hitting only four shots from beyond the arc in the previous three quarters, the Bulldogs hit three triples in the fourth quarter, including two from senior Jillian Parlett.
A three-pointer by freshman Chloe Gochenour brought Luray within one-point of Harrisonburg at 45-44 with 5:14 left in the game. At that point, the Bulldogs had gone on a 12-3 run to open the fourth quarter over just 2:46, after trailing by 10. A free throw by Donovan tied the score at 47-47 with 4:46 left, and Luray took the lead at 50-49 on Jillian Parlett’s second three-pointer with 1:23 left in the game.
However, Harrisonburg got a layup from freshman Alyse Sheffey and a couple of free throws (courtesy of late fouls to stop the clock) in the final 1:11 to cap off the scoring and the game at 53-50. The Blue Streaks were lead by sophomore Terrya Shifflett with 12 points, and freshman Sierra Cain with 11. Freshmen Addison Weakley and Sheffey both added eights points. Seven different streaks contributed points.
Luray (0-1) also saw seven Bulldogs score, lead by Donovan with 15 points and Ella Parlett with 12. Senior Maggie Foltz scored eight on the night, including two three-pointers, while Jillian Parlett had six points with a pair of triples as well.
Next up, Luray travels to East Rockingham on Tuesday, Nov. 28; before hosting Broadway on Friday, Dec. 1.
In Friday night’s season and home opener, the Bulldogs were fighting an uphill battle — not only facing a much larger school, but also a larger roster. Despite Coach Joe Lucas’ best efforts to rotate players in the game and get fresh legs on the court, his roster only stretches to nine and features four freshmen.
The Bulldogs will lean heavily this season on three senior players with three years in the program — Emily Donovan, Maggie Foltz and Jillian Parlett. The trio represented three of Luray’s top four scorers on Monday night, and they probably will continue to repeat that most of the season. Sophomore Ella Parlett will also be a key contributor, showing solid play in the paint and an ability to drive to the basket.
The one thing Coach Lucas seems to be able to do is the get the most out of whatever roster he has in front of him by stressing fundamentals, team play and hustle — lots of hustle. It showed Monday night. Luray forced a lot of turnovers, overcame a cold shooting streak, and began to hit big buckets to remain competitive.
This team will continue to get better, play better together, and produce better results.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.