By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 4 — Luray High School junior Emilee Weakley followed up a 35-point performance at Madison on Wednesday with a team- and game-high 27 points against rival Page County on Thursday.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter and lead the rest of the way en route to a 66-51 Bull Run District win.
On Wednesday night at Madison, Weakley left the game in the fourth quarter after putting up 35, while the entire Mountaineer team had only scored 34 at the time. Madison had been undefeated at 10-0, before the Bulldogs came to town and made a statement with a 21-point win, 66-44.
“We’re happy with where we are…considering we haven’t been able to practice much,” LHS head coach Joe Lucas said after Thursday’s win. “We were just talking in the locker room…we can’t get complacent because it’s playoff time right now.”
The Bulldogs played two games in early January before an 18-day layoff due to COVID-19 protocols, but they have now won five games in the last nine days.
In addition to Weakley’s 27 points, junior guard Avery Alger had a solid night from the floor and added 10 points. Junior Lexie Vile contributed eight points, while senior Brynlee Burril had seven.
The Panthers outscored Luray in both the second and third frames, 11-9 and 13-11. Junior Caris Lucas kept the Panthers within striking distance in the second half, hitting key three-pointers and putting up a team-high 16 points on the night.
“She’s kind of become the leader of this team,” PCHS head coach E.J. Wyant said after Thursday’s loss. “She plays hard every night.”
Senior Hannah Southers added 12 points for Page, while junior Leah Hillard had 10. Senior Morgan Lucas had a solid night in the paint grabbing rebounds on one end and putting up nine points on the other end.
Coach Wyant said he knew his team needed to find a solution for Weakley’s offensive drive, but the execution wasn’t there Thursday night.
“We have a game plan to try to slow her down, but we just haven’t executed it yet,” he said. “When we stop talking about it and start doing it, we’ll have a better chance of winning.”
The Panthers (7-3) will close out the regular season Friday night by hosting Madison (10-1). Page is currently ranked third in the Bull Run District and anticipates hosting a first round game in the Region B tournament, which begins Monday, Feb. 8.
Coach Lucas believes the Bull Run will be well represented in the Region B tournament with almost sure bids set aside for Luray, Madison, Page and Stonewall — currently the top four teams in the district.
“I think we have a lot of good teams in our district,” Lucas said.
One of the keys to Luray’s 15-point win over Page was a tenacious defense that stymied Page’s typically prolific offense. Coach Lucas said that defensive effort will be key to the Bulldogs making a deep run in the postseason.
On the offensive side, he’s not worried about becoming one-dimensional with Weakley, or if teams continue to key on her.
“If teams are keying on her, we have other weapons to go to,” Coach Lucas said. “We stress — doing it together.”
The Bulldogs (7-0) will close out the regular season on Friday night at home, hosting Rappahannock County (1-9). Top-seeded Luray also expects to host a quarterfinal game Monday in the Region B tournament.
The PVN Sports “Players of the Game” were Emilee Weakley for LHS and Caris Lucas for PCHS.
For full schedules, rosters and standings, go to the Bull Run District website and select your team.
Bulldogs move to 3-0 with win over visiting Strasburg
Panthers move to 4-1 with win over Clarke, 50-31
Page County picks up first win in home opener against Strasburg, 56-46
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