Lady Panthers pull away in 4th, head to region semifinal
Charles City’s Lady Panthers outscored the visiting Rappahannock Lady Raiders 24-11 in the final quarter on their way to a 51-35 win to advance to the Region A, Division 1 basketball quarterfinals against Surry’s Lady Cougars.
Nerves would play a part for the hosts from the start of the Feb. 19 contest, as the Lady Panthers failed to score in the first three minutes of the game until Adrienne Miles converted a lay-up just under the five minute mark.
The Lady Raiders held a 6-4 lead when Lady Panther head coach Vashaun Otey elected to turn up the pressure. The strategic maneuver paid off, as the second-seeded Lady Panthers would stage a 9-0 run, capped off by a Hailey Holmes three to give the hosts a 16-10 lead at the end of one. That lead increased to nine at the break (23-14).
After the break, the visitors would take advantage of lackluster offense by Charles City. Lady Raider Kelsey Berhalter knocked down a jumper that sparked an 8-0 run and narrowed the lead to 23-22. Sara Whitehead’s free throw snapped the streak at the 1:38 mark before Jessica Hill’s jumper helped up the lead to 27-22. Lasheionia Smith’s corner jumper just before time expired in the third shrank the Lady Panthers lead to three (27-24) heading into the fourth quarter.
Miles’ lay-up ignited a Lady Panther 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter. The Lady Raiders would come within seven at 42-35, but the hosts reeled off a 9-0 run, capped by Whitehead’s lay-up and following free throw to put the game out of reach.
After the game, Otey spoke about the offensive deficiencies in the first half.
“We have to convert more shots,” said the winning coach. “We shot something like five of 39 and most of the missed shots were in the paint and that’s just unacceptable.”
“I told them to collect themselves and get rid of the nerves,” he said to them at the halftime break. “We were missing a lot of shot opportunities because of those nerves tonight.”
Despite the nerves, the Lady Panthers (16-5) were led by Miles and Hill, who both scored 11 points. Cheyenne Davis also finished in double figures with 10. Whitehead pumped in nine, Holmes added five, Meryah Bates and Myonka Boyd scored two apiece, and Kayla Otey chipped in with one.
Rappahannock (10-9) was led by Selene Epps, who finished with a game-high 22 points.