The James River girls opened the week with a basketball loss to Alleghany Monday. The visiting Mountaineers took a 53-47 win over River in Springwood on Martin Luther King Day.
River led by a dozen points in the third quarter but let it slip away. Alleghany outscored the Knights 17-8 in the fourth quarter to leave with a 53-47 district win.
“Heartbreaker!!” said River coach Ryan Firebaugh. “We let one get away from us. The girls played so hard and everything was going our way early. We could not have played better, everything was clicking early and when adversity hit us throughout the game the girls would answer it right back.”
Sydnee Breeding led the Knights with 15 points, hitting three three-pointers. Caitlin Canada had 11 points, four rebounds and five assists while Kelsi Maydian had five points and five boards.
“Alleghany is a tough team,” said Firebaugh. “We shut down two of their best players for most of the game and they had to have someone step up for them and that person did.”
With the loss the Knights dropped to 9-5 overall and 1-4 in the Three Rivers District. Last week River split two district games, losing to Carroll County but bouncing back to top Radford.
Carroll is the defending Class 3 state champion and one of the top teams in the state once again, and they showed why as they came to Springwood and blew out the host Knights, 60-12. Canada led River with seven points.
On Friday the girls were at Radford where they took a 42-26 win over the host Bobcats. Lexi McCullough led River with a near triple double, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and getting seven steals. Honesty Liming returned from an early season and had eight points and Audrey Benson scored seven and had seven rebounds. Canada had just four points but had 11 boards and 10 steals.
“We had quite a few girls step up for us, which was huge,” said Firebaugh. “Audrey and Lexi stepped up for us offensively. When you have multiple girls step up and play well you know it’s going to be a good night overall. The girls played hard and got it done. It’s always good to go on the road and win a district game.”
River is back in action Thursday with a home game against Floyd. It’s the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader and is scheduled for 6 p.m. Next Tuesday they host Glenvar.