The Lord Botetourt girls are just three wins away from repeating as state basketball champs after winning the Region 3D tournament Monday. The Cavaliers beat Magna Vista in the regional final, 48-41, before a packed gym at Hidden Valley High School.
With the win the Cavaliers, now 26-1, advance to the Virginia High School League Class 3 state quarterfinal this Friday. As Region 3D champs the Cavaliers get to host the Region 3C runner-up at a site near, but not at, Lord Botetourt High School. The game will be played at the Cregger Center at Roanoke College at 6 p.m., followed by a boys state quarterfinal game between Region 3D champion Northside and Region 3C runner-up Heritage.
The Botetourt girls will play Western Albemarle, who lost to Spotswood in the Region 3C final. The Warriors eliminated Brookville, a team LB also beat this season, in the Region 3C semifinal.
“I know they have good size and a good point guard,” said LB coach Chuck Pound as he prepared to study tape of the Western Albemarle team.
The winner of Friday’s game will play in the state semifinal on Tuesday. If LB survives Western Albemarle the Cavaliers would play the winner of a quarterfinal game between Spotswood and Magna Vista. Spotswood would be the home location if the Trailblazers win that game, but if LB and Magna Vista both win it would be a rematch of the regional final in this area, most likely at Roanoke College.
On Monday at Hidden Valley, Magna Vista gave the defending champs all they could handle before the Cavaliers pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“This game was a struggle and we had a feeling it would be,” said Pound. “Magna Vista is a very quick, tenacious team that never quits. We could never get where we felt like we were in control.”
LB led 11-8 after the first quarter but the Warriors’ TaNashia Hairston scored all 12 of Magna Vista’s points in the second period to knot the game at 17-17. Botetourt’s Miette Veldman scored just before the buzzer to give LB a 19-17 lead at intermission.
“We missed some easy shots in the first half, some that seemed to go down and then somehow come back out,” said Pound.
Botetourt had a five-point run early in the fourth quarter to go up nine, and the Cavaliers were able to hit their free throws down the stretch to pull out the win. Veldman had 29 points and 24 rebounds to lead LB, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Jenna Alam had six points.
The Region 3D title marked just the third time in school history the girls basketball team has won the region. Botetourt had to beat Abingdon and Patrick County in the first two games of the regional last week.
The Abingdon game was played in the LB gym in Daleville and the Cavaliers took a 55-46 win against a tough opening round foe.
“We knew this was a tough draw and it was a ‘survive and advance’ kind of night,” said Pound. “Although we had the lead 32-16 at the half it was never comfortable. We could not put them away, and that says a lot for their team.”
Brooklyn Shelton led LB with 18 points and Veldman had 17 and 11 boards. Alam had eight assists and with that performance became LB’s all-time assist leader. Scottie Cook had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Saturday’s semifinal was played at Christiansburg High School and the winner of this game was guaranteed a spot in the state tournament. Botetourt left no doubt with a 69-40 drubbing of the Cougars.
“We played really well,” said Pound. “We had a good first half.”
The Cavs led 38-20 by intermission and were never threatened thereafter. Alam had 14 points in the first half and finished with 21, while Shelton had three three-pointers in the second quarter and scored 11 points in that quarter alone, finishing with 16.
Veldman was her usual steady self with 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and seven steals. Meredith Wells, who has been starting since Kenleigh Gunter sprained her ankle on Valentine’s Day, added eight points. Pound is hoping to have Gunter back for Friday’s game at RC.
Cost for the game at Roanoke College on Friday is $10, but that includes both the LB girls and Northside boys games. On Monday the Northside boys beat Cave Spring, 84-60, in the second game of a doubleheader and the gym was packed at Hidden Valley. Roanoke College should be the perfect venue for Friday’s state quarterfinal twin bill.
“I think it will be a great place to play,” said Pound. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
The girls Class 3 state championship game will be played at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on Thursday, March 7, with a starting time of 12:30 p.m.