Meredith Wells drives against Fleming’s Tania Johnson
Photo by Brian Hoffman

The Lord Botetourt girls lost a basketball game for the first time since February of 2018 when they were defeated by William Fleming last Friday. The Cavs dropped a 75-69 game in Roanoke.

Botetourt, the 2018 Class 3 state champions, hadn’t lost since falling to Abingdon by two points in the Region 3C final last year. LB went on to win three straight in the state tournament, then opened this season with 13 straight wins before falling to Fleming on Friday.

“We had a very difficult time adjusting to Fleming’s speed and quickness,” said LB coach Chuck Pound. “They got to the basket just about whenever they wanted to and they hurt us on the offensive boards. I thought we would come out ready to play, but we did not and that’s on me.”

LB junior center Miette Veldman kept the Cavaliers in the game in the first half, scoring 17 points. The Cavs trailed 35-26 at intermission, but Fleming came out on fire in the third quarter and upped the lead to 20 at one point. Botetourt regrouped and cut the lead to a dozen points by the end of the quarter.

“I thought we were going to get right back in it,” said Pound. “But once again Fleming extended their lead to 17 and at that point we decided to press and take chances.”

The Cavs rallied down the stretch and made it a one possession game in the final minute before the Colonels hit some key free throws to hold on. Fleming’s Tania Johnson proved tough to handle as she had 29 points, making some difficult shots driving to the hoop.

“She had an outstanding game,” said Pound. “We didn’t have an answer for her.”

Veldman tied her career high with 31 points and she also had 17 rebounds. Janna Alam had 19 points and five assists and Brooklyn Shelton had 14 points without hitting a three. Shelton also had eight rebounds.

Botetourt will play Fleming again, in Daleville, on February 1 and that should be a good one.

“We saw that we still have a lot to work on and improvement to make before the post-season gets here,” said Pound.

LB had two other games last week and the Cavaliers won both easily. They took a 73-37 win over William Byrd in Vinton as Veldman had 31 points and a dozen boards in just 20 minutes. Shelton had 18 points and Alam had eight assists.

On Wednesday of last week the girls were at Hidden Valley and everything went LB’s way against the Titans. Botetourt won by 70 points, 89-19.

“It was a perfect storm,” said Pound. “We shot extremely well and Hidden Valley only hit four field goals for the entire game. We played zone the entire second half, which we rarely do.”

Botetourt had 35 points in the first quarter and 56 by halftime. Shelton had 26 points and Grace Taylor tied a school record with seven made three-pointers while scoring a career high 23. Alam had eight assists and Briana Myers had five.

The Cavaliers are scheduled to play Hidden Valley again tonight, this time at LB. On Friday the girls are at Staunton River.

A Monday game against Christiansburg was postponed and rescheduled for next Wednesday, January 23.