SHENANDOAH, Dec. 6 — On Tuesday night, the Page County girls basketball team picked up their second-straight victory over a Valley District opponent with a 45-33 win on the road at Broadway. Just five days earlier, the Panthers picked up another non-district win against a Class 3 opponent with a 49-41 victory over East Rockingham.
Senior Faith Mason hit timely shots in both games and posted a game-high 16 points against the Eagles. On Tuesday, Mason hit a triple that broke a tie with the Gobblers in the fourth quarter and spurred the Panthers to a 12-point win. Last Thursday, the senior guard scored seven of the Panther’s final 10 points, tying the game at 41-41 with 2:23 left and then leading Page on an 8-0 run to finish the game.
Senior Adryn Martin posted 20 points over those two games, scoring a team-high 11 against the Gobblers on Tuesday and nine against the Eagles on Thursday. Senior Bailee Gaskins had 12 points against East Rock.
At Broadway, the Panthers were in control most of the way and entered the fourth quarter with a six-point lead. Despite the Gobblers going on a 6-0 run to tie things ups, Page held on and won by 12 on the road.
The opposite was true against East Rock last Thursday when the Panthers had to mount a comeback. After being outscored in both of the first two frames and trailing 23-18 at the half, Page outscored the visiting Eagles in the third and fourth quarters — including a 16-4 run in the final eight minutes.
The Panthers’ only loss of the season came in their Nov. 28 opener on the road at Turner Ashby, 48-31.
Next up, Page County (2-1) will host another Valley District opponent as they take on Turner Ashby again, this time on their home court at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 8.
Page County is going to be competitive this season, and no one should take them for granted — not even Macy Smith (last season’s Region B Player of the Year) and her fellow Rams of Strasburg (the team that knocked the Panthers out of the playoffs in the Region 2B semifinals last season).
Page has posted a 2-1 record among Class 3 opponents from Rockingham County so far this season. They have also showed signs of playing well as a team early on due to the experience of several players who finished just one game shy of the state tournament last winter.
The core of the team represents multi-sport athletes — like senior Bailee Gaskins, who just signed a Division II scholarship to play softball at Coker University, but who will undoubtedly be among the top three scorers on a basketball team that should finish in the upper tier of the region. Senior Faith Mason just finished up a competitive volleyball season, while senior Adryn Martin and sophomore Ali Purdham are three-sport talents that excel in all three.
Although lacking the superstar standout like Strasburg’s Smith, Page still has a lot of talent that is spread out on a team that plays well together and features some depth from the bench. Along with Martin, senior Destiny Wright offers some height down in the paint, while senior Taryn Eppard handles the ball well at the top of the key.
The Panthers could be the sleeper team in the region that others overlook. They will certainly be competitive against anyone they play. Their confidence is building and it will be exciting to see how far this team could develop over the ’23-’24 season.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.