By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, Jan. 15 — Midway through the third quarter on Friday night each basket took on increasing emphasis and the tension built in the gymnasium. The crowd watched as Luray High School senior Emilee Weakley missed nearly a half dozen shots, each one prompting a quick, collective exhale — and then it happened.
With :54.6 left in the third period, the Shepherd University signee stole the ball and hit a running layup. It’s something the 5’11” shooting guard has done many, many times — but never had it meant more.
With that basket, Weakley became the first basketball player for LHS — boys or girls — to reach 2,000 career points. In fact, she’s only the 36th player in the history of the Virginia High School League to accomplish such a feat.
“I’ve dreamed of this day for my entire high school career,” Weakley told WHSV-TV3 after Friday night’s game at Page County High School. “I never thought I would make it to this point. This is such an accomplishment and I’m very blessed.”
Weakley’s milestone takes on even more meaning when considering the fact that she missed a dozen or more games last year due to a COVID-shortened season, and the fact that she’s also been out the past week under COVID protocols. The senior became the all-time leading scorer for Luray just a few games into the season, surpassing the likes of Bridgewater College Hall of Famer Craig Tutt (currently the principal at Springfield Elementary) and the current women’s head basketball coach at Eastern Mennonite University, Jenny Logan. Both Logan and Tutt surpassed 1,800 points while at LHS.
Now, Weakley still has a dozen or more games left this season (depending on the postseason) to add to her already amazing accomplishment.
In Friday night’s game, Weakley lead the Bulldogs with a game-high 32 points en route to a 66-43 Bull Run District win over rival Page County. The Panthers played well with the No.2-ranked Bulldogs and kept it close most of the way. Luray would hit a dozen three-pointers on the night spread out among five players, while both teams shot nearly 40 percent from the floor.
Luray’s defense stymied Page in the first quarter, as the Panthers turned the ball over seven times and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 19-6 lead. Page went basket-for-basket with Luray in the second frame, 16-16 over those eight minutes, but the home team still went to the half down by 13 points, 35-22. Senior Amber Tharpe recorded a hat trick of three-pointers in the first half for Luray, while sophomore Adryn Martin scored more than a third of Page’s points in the first two frames.
Weakley would score 19 of Luray’s 31 second half points, including four shots from beyond the arc. However, Page County played their best basketball in the third quarter and drew within five points of Luray late in the period. PCHS senior Gracie Mason opened up the third quarter with back-to-back three-pointers, while fellow senior and team leader Caris Lucas hit the three-pointer that brought the score to 42-37. Weakley went on to score the next five points in the game, giving Luray a 47-37 lead heading into the fourth.
Just as they had in the first quarter, Luray would win the frame by a 19-6 margin. Weakley put up a trio of three-pointers in the final eight minutes, along with one from sophomore Maggie Foltz. Behind Weakley’s 32 points, Tharpe finished with nine for Luray, junior Jaidyn McClung had eight and senior Avery Alger added six.
For Page County, Lucas lead the Panthers with 13 points, followed by Mason with 12 and Martin with 11.
Next up for the Panthers (5-6, 3-3) will be a 2:30 tip-off today in an unusual Saturday matchup with Central of Woodstock. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18. The Panthers are also scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip-off Monday on Martin Luther King Day at East Rockingham, weather permitting.
The Bulldogs (9-2, 5-1) are scheduled to travel to Clarke County on Monday night, weather permitting, for a game rescheduled from Dec. 17. That will be followed by a road trip to Rappahannock County on Tuesday.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
The PVN Sports broadcast crew selected
as the Blue Ridge Bank “Player of the Game“.
Weakley, a senior guard, made history on Friday night as she became the only basketball player at Luray High School — and only the 36th in Virginia — to reach 2,000 career points. She lead the Bulldogs with 32 points on the night, including four three-pointers.