By Randy Arrington
BERRYVILLE, Feb. 15 — For the second-straight, postseason game this week, the Luray Bulldogs have ignored their underdog status and played their best basketball of the season. Behind a game-high 26 points from senior Jaidyn McClung, the fifth-seeded Bulldogs upended the top-seeded Eagles of Clarke County, 42-33, in the Bull Run District Tournament semifinals on Wednesday night.
Clarke beat the Bulldogs by nine points, 37-28, just five days earlier, and notched a 44-42 overtime win at Luray on Jan. 13. However, during their third meeting this season, Luray dominated the game by hitting 50 percent of their shots on the night while holding the Eagles to just 25 percent from the floor.
The Bulldogs came out of the gate roaring to a 15-4 lead behind 10 first-quarter points from McClung and a 2-for-14 shooting slump by Clarke over the first eight minutes. After scoring only two baskets in the first period, the Eagles only posted four in the second. Luray held a 21-13 lead heading into halftime.
Clarke built some momentum in the second half, but Luray kept answering back. Despite the Eagles drawing to within four points at 25-21 with 3:05 left in the third, the scoring was nearly even throughout the final two periods — 9-8 Luray in the third, and 12-12 in the fourth.
Clarke could never overcome the lead that Luray built up in the first half. In addition, Luray junior Emily Donovan hit two of her three three-pointers on the night in the fourth quarter to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to as much as 14 late in the game. Donovan finished the night with nine points. Senior Lindsay Bly added five.
Clarke freshman Alainah McKavish had a strong night in the paint and lead the Eagles with 11 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. Senior Hailey Evans added nine points, while senior Keira Rohrbach had six.
With the loss, Clarke drops to 14-4 in district play and 19-5 overall. The Eagles now await the seedings for the Region B Tournament, which gets underway next Tuesday, Feb. 21.
With the win, Luray advances to the Bull Run District Tournament championship and will travel to either No. 2 Strasburg or No. 3 Rappahannock on Friday night.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
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