When looking at the wire and seeing the Greensville County Lady Eagles defeated Goochland 68-43 Thursday in Emporia, one would assume the 2A Region A semifinal was decided shortly after the opening tip. You know what can happen when you assume.
In reality the clash for a bid to the state tournament was a hard-fought battle for the first three quarters with Greensville (21-5) clinging to a 41-37 lead. By the time Goochland’s Justice Tibbs scored her squad’s first points of the final frame with a bucket with 2:08 left on the clock, the Lady Eagles had 60 points on the scoreboard and sealed a bid to the state tournament.
Greensville senior Lenah Clements had been held to eight points through three quarters of play, but triggered the 19-0 run to start the final stanza with a driving lay up, drew the foul and sank the free throw to put her squad in front 44-37 with 7:22 remaining. Kalyn Pleasants heated up for the host team with seven points in the blitz and Danaya Crawley capped the run with a short baseline jumper with 2:19 remaining.
Long before the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Lady Eagles knew that were headed to the state tournament. It was a satisfying feeling for sophomore Sanijah Robinson after she and her squad came up one win short of the feat after falling to Poquoson 63-54 in the regional semifinal round last season.
“We didn’t make it last year and it feels great to be going to state as a sophomore,” Robinson said. “We did it tonight. It took the entire team listening to coach (Sharon Randolph) and playing together. I’m just happy to be going to state as a sophomore.”
It was a team-effort in the final eight minutes, but Greensville may not have been in position to take control of the contest if it wasn’t for Robinson’s effort through the first three quarters of action. Robinson scored 18 points in the first 24 minutes on her way to a game-high 25 points.
Goochland overcame an early 8-2 deficit chipping away at the Greensville lead and finally overtook the green and gold when Lonaysia Gonzales netted six-consecutive points in the second quarter to put the Lady Bulldogs in front 20-19, with 4:24 left in the first half. Robinson followed by draining a pair from the charity stripe, but Goochland (17-10) moved back in front with 3:28 left in the second quarter. Before the first half ended, Robinson corralled an offensive rebound and put the ball through the cylinder to knot the game art 26.
Goochland scored the first two points of the second half, but a Pleasants’ basket tied the contest at 28-28. Robinson put Greensville in front for good with a coast-to-coast basket with 6:51 left in the third quarter, but the Lady Eagles were unable to grab a comfortable margin until the fourth-quarter blitz.
Clements scored 17 for Greensville and Pleasants added 14 to join Robinson in double figures. Gonzales set the pace for Goochland with 16 points.