By Randy Arrington
MADISON, Jan. 17 — After fighting off a tough back-and-forth battle that saw the game tied up three times and Luray trailing in the first quarter, the Bulldogs pulled away over the next three periods and walked away with a 51-35 Shenandoah District win over the Mountaineers of Madison.
Sophomore standout Emilee Weakley posted 29 points for Luray on the evening, hitting nine shots from the field and going 11-of-14 from the line. She also recorded two steals.
Freshman Jaidyn McClung added 12 points.
“They were physical, and we talked about that this week in practice,” LHS head coach Joe Lucas said after the game. “But we’ve played a lot of teams that are physical teams, and we prepared for that.”
Sophomore guard Dy’Eshisa Tyler led the Mountaineers with 10 points.
Luray lead by only six at the half, but Coach Lucas’ squad outscored their opponents on the road in both of the final frames adding another 10 points to the margin.
Despite being tested early, the Bulldogs remained calm on the court and continued to play as a team. And despite a sophomore standout that’s posting 30 or more points in a recent string of games, Luray has a number of contributors.
“Every girl has a role; every player is important,” Coach Lucas said.
The word “Family” appears on the back of apparel and the Bulldogs chant it after every huddle — and it seems to be more than just an endearing slogan.
“It really is a family,” Coach Lucas said after the Madison game. “We want really good kids that also happen to be good basketball players. These kids have to trust me and know that I love them, if they are going to play hard for me.
“This is a tight-knit group, “ he added, “We spend a lot of time together, and we really have become like a family.”
The Bulldogs, loaded with freshmen and sophomores, are sitting among the best teams in the district and the region and looking at a lot of potential as the season passes the halfway point and begins to look downhill at the postseason.