It took the James River girls two and a half months for a taste victory, but once it came it was sweet indeed.
The Knights got their first win of the season last Thursday when they defeated Auburn, 46-34, in Springwood. River has continued to show improvement all season under first year coach Mark Eubank, who took over a team that won just one game last year, and last week the girls’ hard work finally paid off.
“We finished with a season low 11 turnovers and led after each quarter, which is the first time that has happened this season,” said Eubank. “I was really proud of our effort throughout the game, and we shot the ball better than we had all season.”
Kaitlyn Johnson led the Knights with 17 points and Rachel Kickuth also scored in double digits with 13. As a team River went 6-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
The Knights tried to make it two in a row Friday at Staunton River but fell, 42-23, in Moneta. The Golden Eagles got off to a quick start as their point guard, Autumn Stephenson, drilled three three-pointers in the first half.
“We knew we couldn’t let her get going with her shot and we didn’t do a good enough job communicating on defense to prevent that from happening and she finished with 23 points,” said Eubank.
Meaghan Hix and Kickuth both scored six points to lead River in scoring.
“After shooting well from the foul line the previous game we went 7-for-22, which definitely was indicative of how we shot the ball from the floor as well,” said Eubank.
On Monday the Knights played host to a tough Floyd County team and lost 66-20. Johnson had seven and Brittany Crawford had six rebounds but the Knights aren’t ready to keep up with the Buffaloes just yet.
“We turned the ball over way too much against their pressure but our effort was there for the entire game, which has been the case for the majority of the season,” said Eubank. “They are a well coached team that has spent a lot of time together on the floor and that showed in how well they pass the ball.”
River will host Radford tonight for “Senior Night,” then play in the Conference 38 tournament next week. River’s opening round game will most likely be at Glenvar on Monday at 6 p.m.