By Randy Arrington
LURAY — While some don’t want to look too far ahead for fear of a jinx and others don’t want to appear too confident and tempt fate, everyone is asking the same questions: Will they repeat? Who’s going to beat them?
The Luray High School girls basketball team has only lost two games this season — one to Strasburg on Jan. 12 without senior standout Emilee Weakley (due to COVID protocols), and the other to the overall No. 2 team in Virginia, 3A Carroll County on Dec. 30. The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 2 in Virginia’s Class 2, according to MaxPreps.com — only Ridgeview High School of Clintwood is ranked higher.
In the last three seasons, the Bulldogs have gone 61-4. It’s that kind of success that sets high expectations, and Bulldog Nation has its sights set on a second state title after capturing the program’s first last season at Gate City. Weakley, the 2A Player of the Year broke 2,000 career points on Jan. 14 and has signed a D-II scholarship to play with Shepherd University next season.
Now in his sixth season, head coach Joe Lucas — last season’s 2A Coach of the Year — brings a talented and experienced team into the postseason, one that has developed down the ranks on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs have become as well known for their unrelenting defense as they have for Weakley’s offensive firepower.
With a 72-30 win at Madison County on Saturday and a 58-41 win over Page County on Friday, Luray closed out the regular season with a record of 19-2. Luray will be the No. 1 seed in the Bull Run District Tournament and host Mt. View in a quarterfinal matchup Monday night.
On Friday night, the Page County Panthers put up a great fight jumping out to a 5-1 lead early. However, after a sluggish opening six minutes, Luray hit the gas and exploded for 13-0 run that included a trio of three-pointers (two by Weakley) and a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Luray’s defense caused trouble for Page all night, including 14 first-half turnovers. The Bulldogs extended their lead in the second frame and took a 26-14 edge into halftime.
Luray would put the rivalry game away in the third quarter, outscoring Page 20-8 and taking a 46-22 lead into the final eight minutes. Coach Lucas substituted freely in the fourth quarter as the Panthers outscored the home team 19-12 in the final frame.
Weakley lead Luray with 21 points, followed by junior Jaidyn McClung with nine.
Page County got a stellar performance from senior Gracie Mason, who posted 14 points on the night including four three-pointers. Senior Caris Lucas fought hard on both ends of the floor all night and ended up with eight points, while standout sophomores Adryn Martin and Bailee Gaskins each added six.
Prior to the loss, Page County (7-9, 9-12) was sitting at sixth in the Bull Run. The official tournament seedings are expected soon. While the Panthers will travel to play in Monday’s quarterfinal, Page is fully capable of a first-round upset.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
Emilee Weakley and Gracie Mason
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Players of the Game“. (Friday, Feb. 11)
Weakley lead the Bulldogs on Friday night with a game-high 21 points. Mason lead the way for the Panthers with 14 points, including four three-pointers.