The James River girls basketball team is 4-2 entering the 2022 part of the schedule, and that’s four more wins than the girls won in the abbreviated season last winter.
The River girls split their final two games of 2021 last week, losing to Rockbridge County at home and winning at Bassett on back-to-back days. The girls were scheduled to open the New Year at Rockbridge on Monday, but that game was postponed by inclement weather.
Last week in Buchanan, the visiting Wildcats took a 40-25 win over River. The Knights trailed 15-11 at the half and were outscored 14-6 in the third quarter as the Wildcats pulled away.
“The score of the game did not dictate how the game went,” said River coach Ryan Firebaugh. “We outrebounded the Wildcats, 35-24. We played extremely hard.”
Caitlin Canada led River with 11 points, Lexi McCullough had nine and Honesty Liming had 20 rebounds for the Knights.
A day later, in Bassett, the girls bounced back with a 42-31 win over Bassett. River trailed 18-15 at the half but dominated the second half, outscoring the Bengals 27-13 to pull out the win.
“We started the game off a little sluggish and sloppy, but we fixed it in the second half,” said Firebaugh. “I challenged the girls at the half to come out and set the tone early and they accepted and answered that challenge.”
Again River owned the boards, outrebounding Bassett 33-23. Canada had 10 rebounds, Ripley Berry had seven and Rachael Crowder pulled down six.
“We preach a lot about defense and rebounding in practice,” said Firebaugh. “We tell the girls every day how defense and limiting the opposing team to second chance opportunities can win championships. The girls set the tone on defense in the second half. I could not be prouder of the way the girls stepped up and finished the game.”
Canada led the scoring with 15 points and McCullough had 11 and four steals. Crowder scored seven points and Reagan Hester had three steals.
The girls are scheduled to play a tough Three Rivers District game at Floyd County today at 5:30 p.m. and then host another strong district team, Glenvar, on Friday at 7 p.m.