Luray advances to third-straight Region B championship with 73-42 win over Central

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LHS mascot-Bulldog

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Feb. 24 — For the second time in just over a week, the Luray Bulldogs defeated Central of Woodstock to advance to a tournament championship. Luray took last week’s semifinal by a margin of 24 points and went on to win the Bull Run tournament title for a third time in three seasons. Last night, the Bulldogs walked away with a 32-point win over the Falcons and now advance for a third-straight time to Saturday’s Region B championship.

With Thursday’s dominating 73-41 win over Central, Luray (24-2) will now face the Eagles of Clarke County (17-8) for a second tournament title in just over a week. Last Friday, the Bulldogs took the district title from Clarke with a 62-48 win in the Bull Run championship. Now, after defeating Central four times this season, Luray prepares for a fourth matchup with Clarke at 4 p.m. this Saturday at Spotswood High School.

In their previous three meetings, Luray won by margins of 30 at home and 23 points on the road during the regular season. However, that margin of victory shrunk to 14 in the Bull Run title game.

Third-seeded Clarke advanced to Saturday’s championship after a 46-40 win over sixth-seeded Madison in Tuesday’s quarterfinal, followed by a 62-51 win over seventh-seeded Page County on Thursday. Luray blew out eighth-seeded Stuarts Draft in Tuesday’s quarterfinal, 71-20.

On Thursday night, the top-seeded Bulldogs wasted no time taking command of the Region B semifinal. Luray jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the opening minutes and held the Falcons to only one basket in the first quarter. Fifth-seeded Central committed 11 turnovers in the opening frame and trailed 24-2 after the first period and 38-12 at the half.

Although nine different Bulldogs would score in the game, senior Emilee Weakley single-handedly outscored the Falcons by posting a single-game, career-high of 44 points on the night. Team members ran onto the floor with 1:45 left in the game to congratulate Weakley, who broke her previous record of 42 points in a single game. That happened two years ago during her sophomore season, also against Central.

Despite the onslaught of offensive power, tremendous defensive pressure and a never-ending rotation of fresh legs from Luray’s deep bench, Central got strong performances from sophomore first team All-District selection Mckenna Painter who posted a team-high 11 points, and second team All-District honoree senior Emma Eberly who also finished with 11 points including two three-pointers.

Central picked up the pace and scored 29 second-half points, compared to 12 in the first. However, Luray would post a season-high 73 points, marking the fourth time this season they surpassed 70 points in a game. The Bulldogs have scored 60 or more points in 19 of 26 games this season.

Following Weakley’s 44 points, junior Jaidyn McClung had eight and junior Lindsey Bly added seven in one of her best game’s of the year.

With an appearance in Saturday’s Region B championship, both teams will advance to next week’s state tournament (dates and times to be determined). Luray returns after two consecutive trips to the 2A state title game, in which they lost to Gate City two years ago before beating the Blue Devils for the championship last season. With Thursday night’s win, Clarke earned its first state playoff berth since 2015.

For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.

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The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected

Emilee Weakley

as the Blue Ridge Bank “Player of the Game“.

Weakley lead the Bulldogs in Thursday night’s Region B semifinal with a game-high 44 points — a single-game, career-high for the senior — bringing her high school career scoring total to 2,469.

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