ERHS Cruises To Semis

Eagles Rout Charles City, 71-25

Posted: March 2, 2013

HARRISONBURG – In describing why the East Rockingham High School girls’ basketball team prefers light-hearted practices leading up to the state tournament, senior Meghan Nicholson compared playing hoops to writing a story for the Daily News-Record.

“You have to type up a Daily News-Record [article], and you don’t know what you’re going to do, and [you’re thinking about] all these things that you have to do,” Nicholson said. “You just have to break it down and relax, and you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”

Sound advice.

Apparently it was for the Eagles, too.

East Rock led 24-0 after the first quarter on its way to a 71-25 win over Charles City in a Division 1 state quarterfinal Saturday at James Madison University’s Convocation Center, earning the third-year school its third straight trip to the state semifinals in Richmond.

The defending state champion Eagles (27-1) will meet Region D runner-up Castlewood, which beat Region C champion Covington in another quarterfinal, at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Siegel Center.

The Eagles are used to winning blowouts by now – they outscored opponents 201-109 in winning the Region B, D-1 tournament – but they took the first quarter to an extreme against the Panthers (17-7), the Region A, D-1 runners-up. Charles City went 0-for-10 and had 12 turnovers in the opening period.

When Panthers forward Adrienne Miles finally scored CCHS’s first points at the 7:08 mark of the second quarter to make it 24-2, fans of both teams cheered.

“As far as overall talent, I think they’re the best team – complete team – we’ve seen in the season,” CCHS coach Vashaun Otey said.

Giggling in practice might be part of the Eagles’ secret.

Players said the funniest part of East Rock’s final practice Friday was when a reserve, cutting through the lane while practicing a play called “UCLA,” face-planted on the floor to the point where “her fingers were tangled with her toes,” Nicholson said.

“We were all laughing at her,” Nicholson said. “Not, ‘Are you OK? Are you alright?’ Just laughter.”

Another example: When senior Jessica Lam groans in practice after missing a shot – Lam says she is the team’s most frequent jokester – her teammates kid that it sounds like “child labor.”

The jokes help lighten the mood, players said, because they get nervous come game time – especially in the state tournament.

Those nerves didn’t last long Saturday. Lam had 18 points, senior Sarah Cameron had 15 and sophomore Madison Comer 14 for an East Rock team whose lone loss this season – against Stuarts Draft in the Shenandoah District tournament semis Feb. 12, snapping the Eagles’ 51-game win streak – seems like ages ago.

The only suspenseful moment, really, was when Nicholson hit the floor hard early in the first quarter. Players initially wondered whether she had re-injured her chronic shoulder injury, but she in fact had been elbowed in the head and quickly returned.

East Rock was already playing without starting junior guard Katie Dofflemyer, who suffered a concussion in the regional championship a week earlier and was held out for “precautionary” reasons, Coach Comer said.

Dofflemyer, though, was all smiles after the game. So were the rest of her teammates.

When the game’s over, it’s back to giggling.

“You’ve gotta just be positive, stay light,” Lam said.
Richard 0 1-2 1, Holmes 1 0-0 2, Davis 1 5-8 7, Miles 5 2-2 13, Jones 0 2-2 2. Totals 7 10-14 25.

Comer 6 1-2 14, Grubbs 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 1-2 3, Cameron 6 2-4 15, McPike 0 2-2 2, Wilkins 1 0-0 2, Lam 6 5-7 18, Bailey 3 0-0 6, Nicholson 3 0-0 6, Kisling 2 0-0 4. Totals 29 10-17 71.

Charles City          0  12    4     9 - 25
East Rock             24  12  18  17 - 71

3-Point Goals-Charles City 1 (Miles), East Rock 3 (Comer, Cameron, Lam). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Charles City 36 (Hill, Davis 6), East Rock 52 (Smith 9). Total Fouls-Charles City 13, East Rock 11.

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