By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Jan. 13 — In a closely fought match between two of the top teams in the Bull Run District, Clarke County edged out Luray, 44-42, in overtime on Friday night.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 11-6 lead by the end of the first quarter — including a 9-0 run during the period — behind five points from junior Emily Donovan and four from senior Lindsay Bly. The visiting Eagles shot a dismal 2-for-13 from the floor in the opening eight minutes, while Luray hit over 50 percent of their shots. The score would have been even more depressing for Clarke if senior Hailey Evans had not hit a three-pointer in the final few seconds of the frame.
The second quarter flip-flopped the action as Clarke went on a 13-9 run behind seven points from six-foot freshman Alainah McKavish. Senior Jaidyn McClung scored all nine of Luray’s points in the second quarter, including a three-pointer, a steal and going 2-for-3 from the line. The Eagles were able to take advantage of multiple shots after dominating the offensive boards and cut Luray’s lead to one, 20-19, at the half.
The Bulldogs only hit three baskets in the third — two by McClung and a three-pointer by Donovan — as Clarke outpaced the home team 10-7 and took a two-point lead into the final eight minutes. Six-foot senior forward Keira Rohrbach scored six of the Eagles’ 10 points in the quarter to help Clarke take its first lead of the game.
Luray made up the difference, outscoring Clarke 10-8 in the final frame behind another seven points from McClung. However, the final minute of regulation was nip-and-tuck in a game that had already featured eight ties and a half dozen lead changes. A four-for-four effort at the free throw line in the fourth by McKavish gave Clarke a three-point advantage, 37-34, as both teams traded turnovers in a flurry of activity up and down the floor.
McClung came to the line trailing by three with less than 20 seconds on the clock. The senior calmly hit the first, but then missed the second shot. Donovan got her hands on the rebound and put the ball back up to tie the game at 37-37 with 12 seconds left. The Bulldogs had several opportunities to put the game away in the final minute — as did the Eagles — but regulation ended with the score knotted up at 37 and the Bull Run District matchup headed into a four-minute overtime period.
The two teams traded baskets in the opening minute of overtime, but a three-pointer by junior Selene Good gave Clarke a 42-39 lead. Soon after, Bly would pick up her fifth foul and leave the Luray line-up with 2:50 left in OT. A free throw by Rohrback extended Clarks’ lead to 43-39. Luray junior Maggie Foltz then hit a key three-pointer that brought the home team within one at 43-42. One more Clarke free throw would cap off the scoring. Luray had the game’s final possession, trailing by one, but could not pull out another last-second win as they did earlier in the season against Page County.
McClung finished with a game-high 22 points, including 20 of Luray’s 26 points in the final three quarters. Donovan posted 11 points on the night, while Bly had four points, as well as several key blocks.
McKavish lead Clarke with 13 points. Rohrback had eight points, including three consecutive baskets in the third, while Evans posted seven and Good had five of her six points in the decisive overtime period.
In a highly competitive region with a great deal of parity, any one of about a half dozen teams could emerge as the Region B champion in February. Friday night’s battle between Luray and Clarke should be indicative of nail biters and barn burners yet to come during the 2022-23 season in the Bull Run District.
With the loss, Luray drops to 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Bull Run District. Next up, the Bulldogs host Stuarts Draft (2-9) on Saturday before hosting Madison County (2-11) on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
With the win, Clarke moves to 11-2 on the season and 7-1 in the Bull Run. Next up, Clarke travels to Strasburg (10-2) on Saturday for a rescheduled game from Dec. 22, before traveling to Central (7-6) on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
Jaidyn McClung and Alainah McKavish
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Players of the Game“.
McClung finished Friday night’s game against Clarke with a game-high 22 points, scoring 20 of Luray’s 26 points in the last three quarters. McKavish, a freshman, lead the Eagles with 13 points.