It Ends At 51
Draft Beats ERHS, 59-46
Posted: February 13, 2013
East Rock’s Jessica Lam shoots against Draft’s Skyler Wimer in the second quarter Tuesday. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
It wasn’t close.
For the first time in 51 games and 434 days, East Rockingham High School lost a girls’ basketball game, falling to Stuarts Draft 59-46 in the Shenandoah District semifinals Tuesday at Eastern Mennonite University.
That East Rock lost — for the first time since Dec. 6, 2011, and for the first time to a team in the current district in the school’s three-year history — was stunning enough. That Draft was far enough ahead to dribble out the game’s last 30 seconds added to the shock.
“You can’t be discouraged with one loss,” ERHS coach Paul Comer said. “We won 51 straight games. It is what it is; it’s hard to go out there every game and take everybody’s best shot, mentally and physically. I was more worried about us mentally more in the playoffs, not losing a game [this season].”
With the unlikely win, Draft (13-10) moves on to the Shenandoah final against Stonewall Jackson at 6 p.m. Friday at EMU. East Rock (23-1), the regular-season district champion, still advances to the Region B, Division 1 tournament next week, when the Eagles will host a quarterfinal.
On Tuesday, the defending Division 1 state champion Eagles were beaten by a Cougars team that had nearly defeated them two weeks ago. What got Draft over the hump this time was Katelyn Bergey.
The Eagles had no answer for the 5-foot-10 senior, who finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and plenty of assists — maybe enough for a triple-double, if the stat had been kept. Bergey shredded East Rock’s trapping press — generally the head of the Eagles’ monster. Her combination of size and speed made her a nearly impossible one-on-one matchup.
“I just kept telling [teammates], ‘Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball,’” said Bergey, who had 14 points in the previous meeting against East Rock. “So when I got the rebound, I was pushing, and pushing, and pushing.”
East Rock struggled offensively, too. Playing against a sagging zone from Draft, the Eagles went 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from the 3-point line, and they went 2-of-10 from the foul line in the first half.
The half ended with a deflating moment for the Eagles. With the score tied at 22-22 and two minutes left, fourth-seeded Draft held the ball near half-court. East Rock stayed back in a zone, and what resulted was a stand-still. Nothing transpired for the next 1 minute, 30 seconds.
Finally, Draft started moving the ball with 30 seconds left and nearly turned it over before Bergey picked up a loose ball and hit a layup with 11 seconds left. Seconds later, Draft senior guard Mayzie Lewis stole the ball at half-court and made another layup at the halftime buzzer for a 26-22 lead.
“We’ve been on the other end of that,” said senior Sarah Cameron, who had 10 points. “We really haven’t had to experience that much.”
The Eagles were playing catch-up from there.
After Draft forward Hannah Brown made a layup to make it 46-33 in the fourth, the Eagles went on their best run of the second half — partly with Bergey on the bench after she picked up a fourth foul — cutting the margin to 46-42 with five minutes remaining.
At that point, it seemed like it might be déjà vu for East Rock, which trailed Draft by eight in the fourth quarter two weeks ago before rallying to win 64-60.
But Bergey returned right then, and was fouled 10 seconds later by senior Meghan Nicholson — her disqualifying fifth. Less than a minute later, junior guard Katie Dofflemyer fouled out, too; and with a minute left, sophomore Madison Comer followed. By that point, some tears started to flow from the East Rock sideline.
The tears can’t last long, though.
All season, East Rock players and coaches said keeping the streak alive wasn’t a priority — although winning the Shenandoah tournament was. Still, the ultimate goal has always been to repeat as state champion, and that goal is still alive.
In fact, senior guard Jessica Lam – who had a team-high 13 points — said Tuesday’s loss might help the Eagles get there.
“Losing definitely hurts, but I’m kind of glad that the streak is over,” she said. “Now everybody shuts up about it, and we can not worry about everybody saying, ‘How many have you won straight?’ We can focus on what we set out here to do and not have to worry about that.”
What’s more, the Eagles — who play against the smallest schools as a Division 1 basketball program — won’t have to see Stuarts Draft again, because the Cougars compete in Division 2 (although it should be noted ERHS is 2-1 against Draft this season).
But when asked if he was glad to not be seeing the Cougars again, Comer didn’t bite.
“We’ll play ’em. We’ve played ’em several times. We’re not afraid of ’em,” he said. “I’d play ’em tomorrow if I had to.
“That’s the way the game is. They got the last laugh on us this year, but that’s the first time that anybody in this district right now has even beat us. I’m sure a lot of people in that gym are in shock, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Lewis 3 0-0 6, Bergey 7 9-12 23, Wimer 5 0-1 10, Wampler 2 6-8 12, Carpenter 0 0-1 0, Brown 4 0-0 8. Totals 21 15-22 59.
Dofflemyer 3 0-1 9, Comer 3 0-2 7, Cameron 4 2-4 10, Lam 2 8-12 13, Nicholson 1 1-2 3, Kisling 1 2-2 4. Totals 14 13-23 46.
Stuarts Draft 16 10 18 15 - 59
East Rock 9 13 11 13 - 46
3-Point Goals—Stuarts Draft 2 (Wampler 2), East Rock 5 (Dofflemyer 3, Comer 1, Lam 1). Fouled Out—East Rock (Dofflemyer, Comer, Nicholson). Rebounds—Stuarts Draft 38 (Bergey 16), East Rock 23 (Lam 6). Total Fouls—Stuarts Draft 18, East Rock 21.