By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH — It was a night for seniors to shine as Page County beat neighboring district-rival East Rockingham, 44-39, in girls basketball Tuesday at home.
Now in their fourth year in the program, seniors Caris Lucas and Gracie Mason lead the Panthers with a hat trick of three-pointers, a host of rebounds, a few steals and tough defense against the improving Eagles. Lucas posted a game-high 21 points on the night, while Mason added 10.
Both seniors were honored during pre-game ceremonies at PCHS on Tuesday, along with Leah Hilliard, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the first half of the season-opener at Broadway on Nov. 30. Last Thursday, Hilliard started a home game against Rappahannock and ceremoniously scored a basket before immediately leaving the game. The moment came just prior to surgery on her leg, which was in a brace Tuesday night. Along with Lucas and Mason, Hilliard was also in her fourth year in the program and was projected to surpass 1,000 career points this season.
During Tuesday’s Senior Night ceremony, it was announced that Mason will be attending James Madison University in the fall to study engineering; Lucas will be attending Eastern Mennonite University and plans to study nursing; and Hilliard plans to join the workforce.
While many knew that the Eagles have been struggling this season — only one district win — the visitors put up quite a fight on Tuesday night in a key Bull Run matchup for Page County. East Rock actually outscored the Panthers in three of four quarters and jumped out to a 14-11 lead after the first eight minutes.
The difference in the game proved to be the second quarter. The Panthers went on a 14-2 run during the period, lead by nine points from Lucas. Meanwhile, East Rock went cold from the floor, shooting 1-for-7. Although Page committed six turnovers in the first quarter, they played nearly flawless in the second and took a 25-16 lead into the half.
East Rock saw strong play from 6’1″ freshman Haley Lucas, who scored a team-high 11 points. However, battling for rebounds took its tool as Haley picked up her fourth foul with 6:37 still remaining in the third quarter. Despite strong performances by East Rock senior Sarah Smith and junior Kaicey Foltz, who both had eight points on the night, the Eagles weren’t the same team without the 6’1″ freshman on the floor. They would outscore the Panthers 23-19 in the second half and still fall short.
Page County continues to see strong play from sophomores Bailee Gaskins and Adryn Martin, while sophomore Faith Mason and freshman Emma Lucas have been added to the roster after the ranks were depleted in recent weeks. If the Panthers can carry the momentum of back-to-back wins into the final five-game stretch, they can greatly improve their seeding for the district and region tournaments.
Page County (6-5 Bull Run, 8-8 overall) will travel to Clarke County on Thursday night and Mt. View on Friday.
East Rock (1-11 Bull Run, 3-14 overall) will travel to Central on Thursday.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Player of the Game“.
Lucas, a senior guard, posted a game-high 21 points in a Senior Night victory over East Rockingham in Bull Run District action Tuesday. Lucas is in her fourth year of varsity basketball at PCHS. Next fall, she will be playing basketball for Eastern Mennonite University in the NCAA Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference.