Ryan Firebaugh picked up his first win as James River High School girls basketball coach when the Knights defeated Covington, 45-23, in Springwood last Thursday.
River jumped on the Cougars early, going up 16-0 in the first quarter. The Knights never trailed after the great start.
“Defensively, we played well,” said Firebaugh. “We had a total of 21 steals for the game. We controlled the game and, overall, the girls played well defensively and offensively.”
Caitlin Canada had 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks for River. Lexi McCullough had 16 points, nine boards and eight steals, while Rachel Harless had four points, four assists and three steals. Honesty Liming had five points and four steals.
The girls opened the season two days prior with a 47-44 loss to Bassett, also at Springwood. Canada had 16 points, McCullough had 10 points and 14 rebounds and Liming had 11 points and 15 boards.
“We played extremely hard the whole game, just had some things not fall our way,” said Firebaugh. “What really stood out is the determination and fight the girls had when we went down 46-40 with 1:10 left to play in the fourth quarter. We ended up getting a good look as time was running out in the fourth, but we just couldn’t connect.”
Free throw shooting was a sore spot for the Knights.
“What hurt us in the game was our free throw shooting,” said Firebaugh. “We must shoot better from the foul line. I told the girls the game is won and lost at the foul line in tight games. Overall, I was very pleased with how we played our first game. The girls didn’t quit and played hard every possession.”
Now 1-1, the Knights had three games scheduled for this week but all three have been postponed due to health protocols.