Blue Streaks Hold Off TA, 48-32

Posted: January 5, 2013

BRIDGEWATER – As Harrisonburg High School’s Keyana Whitley-Duncan threw up a contested runner 18 feet from the basket, her coach, Bill Bayer, yelled, “Keyana!” clearly not impressed with the shot selection. But the shot hit all net.

It was a theme of Friday’s girls’ basketball game against Turner Ashby – Whitley-Duncan was on her game, but she kept making her coach nervous.

She scored 17 first-half points, but she also fouled out for the first time this season midway through the fourth quarter in a game that had suddenly gotten competitive. The Blue Streaks, though, went on a mini-run without her to secure a 48-32 victory over the Knights.

Whitley-Duncan fouled out with 4 minutes, 21 seconds remaining. The Blue Streaks (5-3 overall, 1-2 in the Valley District) had already seen a 19-point lead whittled to 42-30, and Whitley-Duncan departed having scored 19 of those 42 points.

More importantly, the senior is also her team’s best ball-handler, and TA (1-11, 1-4) was employing full-court pressure. The team’s next-best dribbler, junior Sydney Knupp, had four fouls.

“I told Sydney that if she fouls out, too, we’re probably going to lose the game,” Bayer said. “Because we are weak at ball-handling once you get past [Whitley-Duncan and Knupp].”

But Knupp scored the next six points to open the lead back up to 18 and put away the Knights. She finished with 12.

Whitley-Duncan, though, was the reason Harrisonburg led by so much in the first place.

She scored 17 of her points in the first half, which she said was the hottest half of her high-school career. Even her seemingly wild runner, which made it 32-13 late in the first half, was in her comfort zone.

“I did that [shot] a lot my sophomore year, and my junior year I did it sometimes, and this year I haven’t done it at all,” Whitley-Duncan said. “I was just trying it.”

But TA senior Abby Cleaver clamped down on Whitley-Duncan in the second half, holding her to just one 2-point basket. Junior Miranda Dean (12 points) and Cleaver (10) then spear-headed the comeback, but the struggling Knights, who’ve had just eight active players for several weeks due to injuries, just didn’t have enough firepower.

“We’re frustrated, but we’re sticking together,” Cleaver said. “That’s the biggest thing, is we’re not falling apart as a team, and we’re all in it together.”

Whitley-Duncan 8 2-4 19, Allen 3 2-2 10, K. Brooks 0 0-0 0, Hofacker 1 0-0 3, Adams 0 0-0 0, Simmons 2 0-0 4, King 0 0-2 0, Knupp 4 4-6 12, Komara 0 0-0 0, N. Brooks 0 0-2 0. Totals 18 8-16 48.

Cleaver 2 6-13 10, Sheffer 0 1-4 1, Dean 3 6-9 12, Keeley 0 0-0 0, Witt 2 1-4 5, Wood 1 0-0 2, Bosley 0 0-0 0, LaPrade 0 2-2 2. Totals 8 15-28 32.

Harrisonburg              18          14           8           8   - 48           
Turner Ashby                6          11           8           7   - 32         
3-Point Goals—Harrisonburg 4 (Whitley-Duncan 1, Allen 2, Hofacker 1), Turner Ashby 0. Fouled Out—Harrisonburg, Whitley-Duncan. Rebounds—Harrisonburg 22 (Hofacker 6), Turner Ashby 31 (Witt 9). Total Fouls—Harrisonburg 20, Turner Ashby 15.