By Randy Arrington
The Page County Panthers split in quarterfinal round action of the Region B basketball tournament on Tuesday night. While the girls pulled off an upset of No. 3 Luray, the boys team fell to top-seeded Clarke. The Page County girls are now the only local team remaining in postseason play.
Page County 45, Luray 41
LURAY, Feb. 21 — Despite drawing a No. 6 seed and posting an overall losing record (11-12) entering Tuesday night’s Region B quarterfinal, the Page County Panthers knew they matched up well with Luray and played the game with confidence. With the exception of a back-and-forth battle through the third period, the Panthers lead nearly the entire game.
Page County took control quick in the first quarter behind five points from senior Alexis Frymyer, including one three-pointer, and four points from junior Adryn Martin. Luray only hit two baskets from the floor in the opening eight minutes, shooting just 22 percent. In addition, Page’s unrelenting pressure defense caused five Bulldog turnovers in the first frame. Page lead 11-5 heading into the second quarter.
Luray would then make their best run of the night, outscoring Page 13-9 in the second period behind a big three-pointer from junior Emily Donovan and strong play from seniors Lindsay Bly and Jaidyn McClung. Page also picked up a three-pointer from freshman Ali Purdham. The Bulldogs reduced their turnovers, improved their shooting to 50 percent, and cut the Page County lead to just two points, 20-18, at halftime.
With two ties and three lead changes, the third quarter proved the most volatile. Bly hit a basket to tie the game at 20-20 about 90 seconds into the second half. Two free throws from McClung then gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 22-20, with 5:12 left in the third. Page junior Faith Mason was also perfect at the free throw line a little over a minute later, tying the game back up at 22-22. Bly again pushed Luray ahead at 24-22, but Purdham’s second three-pointer gave Page the lead back at 25-24 with 3:25 left in the third. Purdham had six points and a steal in the third, as the Panthers carried a narrow 30-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Luray junior Maggie Foltz hit a three-pointer with 4:20 left in the game that brought the score to 33-31, but the Bulldogs would get no closer. Luray would score eight of their 14 fourth-quarter points in the final 1:23 in a desperate attempt to keep the game close. Page gave the home team plenty of opportunities as they hit only 1-of-6 free throws in the final 27 seconds. No. 3 Luray cut the deficit from nine points (42-33 with 1:30 left) down to just three, 44-41, after a McClung basket with :09 on the clock. A free throw by Mason capped off the final score at 45-41.
Purdham lead Page with 13 points, while Mason scored 10, Frymyer posted nine, and Martin added eight. McClung lead Luray with 14, followed by Bly with 12, Foltz with six and Donovan with five.
While Luray completes the 2022-23 season with a better overall record of 15-10 — and two impressive wins over top-rated Clarke — Page County had the Bulldogs’ number this year. If not for a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Luray junior Jillian Parlett on Jan. 4, the Panthers would have sweep the Bulldogs in all three meetings this year.
Page County now moves to 12-12 on the year and advances to the Region B semifinals, where they will travel to No. 2 Strasburg (20-6) on Friday night. The Rams defeated the No. 7 Eagles of East Rockingham (9-15) on Tuesday, 51-37.
In other Region B action, No. 5 Central (15-9) upset No. 4 Buckingham (16-9) on the road Tuesday, 62-48. The Falcons will now travel to Berryville on Thursday to face top-seeded Clarke (20-5), who defeated Stuarts Draft (4-17) in the quarterfinals.
Clarke 61, Page County 49
BERRYVILLE, Feb. 21 — For three quarters, the bottom-seeded Page County Panthers played the top-seeded Clarke Eagles toe-to-toe in a Region B Tournament quarterfinal on Tuesday. However, cold shooting in the third quarter ultimately killed Page’s chances of a major upset on the road over the No. 1 seed.
The Panthers lead 18-13 after the first quarter behind a trio of three-pointers from freshman Caden Combs, senior Hayden Plum and junior Seth Cloude. Despite being outscored 17-14 in the second frame, Page still carried a 32-30 advantage into halftime. Combs hit all three of his triples in the first half, including two in the second quarter.
The third quarter fell apart for the Panthers, who only hit one shot form the floor. Clarke went on a 16-4 run during the period with five different Eagles contributing and carried a 47-36 edge into the fourth. The final period was evenly matched, with Clarke only gaining a 14-13 edge to close out a 61-49 victory and advance to the Region B semifinals on Thursday.
Page County was lead by Plum with 11 points, followed by Cloude and Combs with nine each, and senior Brett Paul Campbell with six. Senior Jacob Williams finished the night with three points.
Clarke County was lead by senior Tyler Sansom with 16 points, followed by sophomore Tanner Sipe with 11. Junior William Booker and junior Moses Day each added 10 points.
Page County concludes its season at 10-14, while the Eagles (17-8) will host No. 4 Strasburg (18-7) on Thursday. The Rams defeated No. 5 East Rockingham (16-8), 45-41.
In other Region B action, No. 6 Central (9-15) defeated No. 3 Buckingham (17-7) on the road, 51-42. The Falcons now travel on Thursday to No. 2 Madison (20-6), who defeated No. 7 Stuarts Draft (7-14), 67-49.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
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