Eagles Win, 56-37
“Yoou caaan’t doo iiit!” teammate Jessica Lam mockingly droned slowly, in her best impression of a low-pitched donkey voice.
But when it mattered, Cameron did plenty.
The senior forward scored 21 points – including four 3-pointers – and added nine rebounds to lead No. 2-seed East Rock to a 56-37 win over top-seed Altavista in the Region B, Division 1 title game at Spotswood High School, the second straight regional crown for the third-year school.
The win had some extra meaning for Cameron, who missed the Eagles’ entire postseason, state-title run last year because of a torn ACL.
“It means a lot just to be back, because they did everything for me last year,” Cameron said. “They really made me feel a part of it last year, and I got to be on the court with them this year.”
Both teams move on to the state tournament this weekend. The Eagles (26-1) will play Region A runner-up Charles City at James Madison University’s Convocation Center at 1 p.m. Saturday; the Colonels (21-4) will play Region A champion Colonial Beach at the Siegel Center in Richmond.
Cameron listened to last year’s regional championship game – which also pitted East Rock and Altavista – on the radio, she said, unable to attend while recovering from knee surgery. Her postseason this year started with stunning disappointment, when the Eagles’ 51-game winning streak was snapped in the Shenandoah tournament semifinals.
“It’s a big night for her,” said ERHS coach Paul Comer, who was named the Region B Coach of the Year after the game. “She really wanted to play well, because she didn’t get an opportunity last year.”
She was the cornerstone of East Rock’s 8-of-17 shooting from the 3-point line. The Eagles didn’t make a 2-point basket until the 2:14 mark of the second quarter – but they had made five 3-pointers and seven free throws by that point to take a comfortable 24-14 lead.
Altavista – the Dogwood District regular-season and tournament champion – cut it to 28-20 on junior forward Sydney Morris’ follow at the halftime buzzer. But the Eagles won the third quarter 18-8 – it included 10 points by Cameron – and never had the lead threatened in the fourth.
Lam, the Shenandoah Player of the Year, added 15 points for the Eagles, who hit 22 of 34 free throws on 24 Altavista fouls. East Rock, which committed half as many fouls (12), was in the bonus at the foul line less than eight minutes into each half.
Senior guard Takara Dews led Altavista with 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Morris added seven points and eight rebounds in limited minutes due to foul trouble; she fouled out just a couple minutes into the fourth quarter.
“We wanted our kids to attack them – obviously we attacked them too much,” AHS coach Debra Spencer – a 1990 Bridgewater College alum who’s in the school’s Hall of Fame – said with a chuckle. “We may have to rephrase that, ‘Attack them,’ next time.
“…Any good thing you can say about that [East Rock] team, any adjective, you can attach to it.”
Cox 0 2-2 2, Dews 3 1-2 10, Robinson 1 0-0 2, Morris 3 1-1 7, Hedgpeth 0 2-2 2, Lee 2 2-2 7, Donigan 2 1-2 5, Mason 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 9-11 37.
Dofflemyer 2 2-2 7, Comer 2 3-4 8, Smith 0 1-2 1, Cameron 6 5-10 21, Wilkins 0 0-2 0, Lam 3 7-8 15, Nicholson 0 4-6 4. Totals 13 22-34 56.
Altavista 10 10 8 9 - 37
East Rock 15 13 18 10 - 56
3-Point Goals—Altavista 3 (Dews 3, Lee 1), East Rock 8 (Dofflemyer 1, Comer 1, Cameron 4, Lam 2). Fouled Out—Altavista (Morris). Rebounds—Altavista 36 (Morris 8), East Rock 30 (Cameron 9). Total Fouls—Altavista 24, East Rock 12.