SHENANDOAH, Jan. 12 — The Page County Panthers matched up well with the defending Region B champs on Friday night through three quarters. However, the Panthers dug themselves an early hole and allowed Strasburg to build a nine-point lead after the opening eight minutes. Friday night’s contest between the Bull Run’s No.1 and No.2 teams ended with the Rams remaining undefeated in the district after an 11-point win on the road, 52-41.
Last season’s Region B Player of the Year, Strasburg senior Macy Smith, showed why she probably deserves that honor again this season. Mason posted a game-high 21 points, including a solo shot from beyond the arc and going 4-for-4 from the line.
Smith recorded half of Strasburg’s points in the first quarter, as the Rams hit two-thirds of their shots from the floor and jumped out to an 18-9 lead. The Panthers shot just under 50 percent, but committed five costly turnovers. Five different Rams would score in the opening frame.
The rest of the game would see only a two-point difference between the district’s top two teams. The Panthers won the second quarter 13-12 behind six points from senior Faith Mason and four from senior Adryn Martin. Mason hit the first of her three three-pointers on the night and then went 3-for-3 from the line. The Panthers changed the momentum of the game, but still trailed 30-22 at the half.
In the third, the Panther defense did something few teams have done — held Smith scoreless for eight straight minutes. Strasburg’s Emily Gorrell and Addison Morgan picked up the slack and combined for nine points. Page shot poorly during the period, but picked up triples from Mason and senior Destiny Wright. The Rams won the quarter 13-11 and carried a 10-point lead (43-33) into the fourth.
Despite the double-digit deficit, the momentum again swung back to the home team. Page went on a 5-0 run, while Strasburg opened the final period 0-for-6 from the floor. Page drew within five, until the Rams hit their only field goal of the fourth with just 3:15 left in the game. Even more shocking — the Rams made their first trip to the foul line with only 2:19 left on the clock (first free throw for the entire game). Strasburg went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final two minutes, earning seven of their nine points for the fourth quarter from the charity stripe. The visitors won the frame 9-8 and closed out a key 52-41 district win.
With the win, Strasburg remains undefeated in the Bull Run (6-0, 12-2). Their only losses this season have been to non-district opponents Buffalo Gap and East Rockingham. Next up, the Rams will host Central on Wednesday, Jan. 17.
With the loss, Page County moves to 4-2 in the district and 8-7 overall. The Panthers picked up their first district loss last Friday (Jan. 5) at Clarke, 55-51, and then rebounded with a 61-52 win over Rappahannock on Wednesday. Four of their seven losses on the season came to non-district, Class 3 opponents.
Next up, the Panthers will host cross-county rival Luray on Tuesday, Jan. 16 (weather permitting). The rivalry double-header at Page County High School will feature the boys game at 6 p.m., followed by the girls at 7:30 p.m.
“Page Valley Livin'” — PVN’s new weekly YouTube show — has scheduled to interview PCHS girls basketball coach ER.J. Wyant next week and air the interview around noon next Tuesday on Rivalry Day.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.