Bulldogs move to 3-0 with win over visiting Strasburg

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Weakley v Strasburg 01-27-21
Junior Emilee Weakley lead LHS with 29 points in Wednesday night's win over visiting Strasburg, 66-62.

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Jan. 27 — The 18-day layoff didn’t seem to slow down the Luray Bulldogs on Wednesday night, as they fought off a tough Strasburg team to take a 66-62 home court win.

It was Jan. 9, the last time that the LHS varsity girls basketball team hit the court, defeating Stonewall Jackson at home, 49-33, during a rescheduled game on a Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs opened the season at Strasburg three days earlier on Jan. 6 with a 40-29 victory.

Luray has been battling COVID protocols and quarantining and only played their third game of the 2021 season on Wednesday night, while Strasburg was playing their 11th.

LHS head coach Joe Lucas said the lack of reps (including cancellation of Tuesday’s practice due to inclement weather) hasn’t affected his team as much as it might others.

“We have a veteran group,” Coach Lucas said after Wednesday’s win. “We have one player who’s been starting for four years and a couple who have been starting for three years, so we have a veteran, mature group.”

Coming off a 29-2 season and a Group AA state-runner up finish from a year ago, there are a lot of expectations for the 2021 Bulldogs. Junior Emilee Weakley, a first-team All-State selection from last season, lead the Bulldogs Wednesday night with 29 points. Senior Brynlee Burrill, a second-team All-State selection in 2020, followed with 18. Sophomore Jaidyn McClung also hit for double-digits, with 11 points on the night.

“They have a goal in mind,” Coach Lucas said, “and they know we have a limited amount of time, and we can’t waste a day.”

The Bulldogs (3-0) have six games remaining, and Coach Lucas believes Luray needs to win at least five or six games this season to be among the eight teams selected for the Region B tournament. The coach stated that he is not aware of any minimum number of games required to make the playoffs — with no further cancellations, LHS should end up with nine games, while others in the district could have 15 or more.

On Wednesday night, Strasburg entered the game at 3-6 in the Bull Run District and 4-6 overall. They lacked 6’3″ Jaden Alsberry and 6’4″ Christyan Reid from a year ago — both are playing at the collegiate level this season. However, the Rams put up quite a fight, taking the lead at several points in both the first and second half, and playing basket-for-basket with Luray over several stretches.

The Rams were lead by senior Natalie Hott, who hit six shots from beyond the arc and finished the night with 20 points. One of the most talented freshmen in the district — and perhaps the region — Macy Smith, put up 13 points, while junior Nyla Sperry had 12.

Luray was down after the first period, 19-17, before implementing a press defense that got the Strasburg offense out of their comfort zone. The Bulldogs outscored the visitors 19-8 in the second quarter to take a 36-27 lead into the locker room.

Strasburg picked up the momentum again in the third frame, outscoring their hosts 17-8 in the period and tying the game at 44-44 heading into the final eight minutes. Luray hit their shots at the foul line and keep the Rams at bay in the final minutes, closing out the four-point victory, 66-62.

“It was opposite of what I expected [tonight],” Coach Lucas said. “I thought we would be good on defense, and the offense might take a while — but it was the opposite.”

“We had three players in double digits, and we hit some late buckets… but the defense we need to work on… guarding the ball — that’s what lead to so many open threes,” Coach Lucas continued. “The offense will be okay because we are talented, but the defense we really need to work on.”

The Bulldogs face county-rival Page County Thursday night (weather permitting) on the road. The Panthers (4-1) lost their only game of the season in their opener on the road at Stonewall Jackson.



Panthers move to 4-1 with win over Clarke, 50-31

All LHS basketball shut down until Jan. 27, could affect postseason

Page County picks up first win in home opener against Strasburg, 56-46

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