If ERHS Wins Out, That’ll Be The Streak
Posted: January 29, 2013
HARRISONBURG — If you want to know how many consecutive games the East Rockingham High School girls’ basketball team has won, don’t ask senior Jessica Lam.
“Some people do come up to me and ask what the streak is, and to be honest, most of the time I really don’t know,” Lam said.
So it’s not surprising that she also doesn’t know what the streak could be in two weeks.
The Eagles – the last undefeated high school basketball team in the central Shenandoah Valley after Spotswood’s boys and girls each lost on the weekend of Jan 19-20 – can reach 50 straight victories by winning the rest of their regular-season games. ERHS (19-0 overall, 11-0 in the Shenandoah District) has won 47 in a row with three district games remaining.
ERHS coach Paul Comer appeared to be unaware of the 50-game milestone.
“Well, I guess,” Comer said, when asked about a Feb. 5 finale at Riverheads potentially being No. 50.
“…We’re starting to get ourselves in playoff mode. For us, it’s just a matter of coming out and preparing for the next team.”
All defending Division 1 state champion East Rock has to do is beat three teams it’s never lost to in the Elkton school’s three years of existence: home against Stuarts Draft tonight and Page County on Friday, and on the road against Riverheads. The Eagles have never lost to a team in the current Shenandoah, and they haven’t lost to anyone, period, since Broadway beat them on Dec. 6, 2011.
But Comer doesn’t believe any of the next three games are easy wins. Draft played East Rock to within 10 points in the first matchup and is “playing as well as anyone in our league,” he said; Page is a nearby rival where “records go out the window”; and Riverheads came as close as anyone to beating the Eagles last year, falling 51-50 at the buzzer.
“We’re taking everybody’s best shot,” Comer said. “We’ve talked about that several times. Everybody gets up to play us. Our kids realize that.”
Then, it’s on to the Shenandoah tournament, which starts Feb. 8. East Rock will host a first-round game that night, then the semifinals and championship will be played at Eastern Mennonite University the following week.
“I think these girls are starting to realize that they’re getting closer to doing something really special,” Comer said. “Not that what they’ve done to this point hasn’t been, but we’re focused on what we’re trying to do.”
Elsewhere in the central Valley, of course, there are other teams with aspirations of deep playoff runs.
The Spotswood boys’ team (17-1 overall, 8-0 in the Valley District), which lost its first game at Monticello on Jan. 19, finishes with three of four games at home in the next two weeks. A year after they dropped four of their last five games – including a first-round exit in the district tournament – the Blazers can clinch this year’s Valley regular-season title by beating last-place Broadway in Penn Laird tonight and second-place R.E. Lee at home on Thursday.
SHS coach Chad Edwards has said repeatedly that the Blazers have been more engaged following their first loss of the season.
“I think the attention to detail and the focus have been much improved, and those were the two things I called into question after Monticello,” he said. “…“I just think when you’re undefeated and you deliver that message, guys look at you funny. Like, ‘What are you talking about? We’re undefeated, come on!’ But I think just to taste losing, it’s like, ‘Hey, Coach is right.’”
Spotswood’s girls (17-1, 8-0), meanwhile, have a rematch with Broadway (13-3, 7-1) at home tonight in a game that pits the Valley’s top teams. The Blazers, whose only loss this season was to Germantown Academy in a tournament in Pennsylvania on Jan. 20, won the last meeting 57-54 in Broadway. The Gobblers were state qualifiers last season in Division 4, while the Blazers lost by a point in the Division 3, Region III tournament to eventual state champion R.E. Lee.
“I’m never glad to lose…[but] it was a good loss [against Germantown] as far as going up to play somebody that could probably exploit all of our weaknesses, with a much bigger, longer, older team than we were,” SHS girls’ coach Chris Dodson said. “I just hope that’s the kind of game that can prepare you for the playoffs.”
Fort Defiance (6-2 in the Valley) is also still in the mix for the girls’ Valley title. The Indians host Spotswood in the regular-season finale Feb. 8.
SHS has the advantage of hosting the semifinals and championship of both the boys’ and girls’ Valley tournaments, with the first round played at the higher seed on Feb. 11. Unlike the eight-team Shenandoah tourney, the top seed in the seven-team Valley receives a bye into the semis. Both of the regular-season district title winners get automatic bids into their regional tournaments.