Hot-Shooting Lady Eagles Advance To Region I Semis

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

EMPORIA – The last time the Prince Edward County High School girls basketball team traveled to Greensville County High School, the PECHS Lady Eagles lost in triple overtime. The time before that, they lost in double-overtime.

Prince Edward's mission for its Region I, Division 3 Tournament Quarterfinal match-up in Emporia this time was to win the game in regulation. For good measure, PECHS won by a comfortable margin, taking a 52-41 victory over the Greensville Lady Eagles.

“We really didn't want to let this one go to overtime,” said PECHS head coach Chris McCormick. “The girls felt they let one get away from them the last time they were down here, and played with a sense of urgency. Like they had something to prove.”

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Greensville held a distinct advantage inside against Prince Edward, and used it to build an early lead, before PECHS adjusted and started to shoot over the Greensville defense.

PE guard Regisha Elliott started to heat up from the outside, as the PE Lady Eagles used a 13-3 run in the second quarter to turn a 10-6 deficit at the first quarter break into a 20-13 advantage with 1:16 remaining in the second.

“We had worked all week on getting the ball inside,” said McCormick. “Greensville runs a tough match-up zone, so on offense, we sent four players down low in an effort to compress their defense.”

The thought was to create more opportunities to open lanes to the basket for short-range jumpers. But it left Elliott so wide-open on the outside that she was able to take several uncontested jump shots.

“We hadn't been shooting the ball well for the last couple of weeks, but we did a lot better tonight. Much of that was because of how we attacked the defense. You could almost see our confidence building with each shot.”

The unintended consequence worked out well for PE, which held a 25-17 lead at the half after a stickback jumper at the buzzer by sophomore guard Samantha Applegate.

Defensively, Prince Edward forced Greensville to settle for jump shots, while sporadically mixing in a full-court press.

Elliott scored Prince Edward's first eight points of the third quarter to take a 33-19 lead with 3:10 remaining in the period. The PE Lady Eagles led 38-24 at the end of the third quarter.

Greensville chipped away at the PE lead to start the fourth quarter, and trailed 40-29 after Aquila Drake scored on back-to-back possessions.

It didn't take long for Prince Edward to kill the momentum gained by Greensville. The PE Lady Eagles took their biggest lead of the night at 15 points (46-31) on Elliott's fifth three-pointer of the night with 3:24 remaining.

Greensville forward Lacrisa Miles scored seven of her ten points over the final three minutes of the contest, but PE went 4-4 from the foul line in the final minute of the game to preserve the 11-point victory.

Drake led Greensville with 16 points, while Miles scored ten. Elliott scored a game-high 21 points for Prince Edward, while Shadae Childress scored 13 and Applegate added eight.

“One thing we really needed was to get something more from someone other than Shadae and Regisha. We did that, and it was a collective effort. We got a little something from everyone – whether it was a score or a rebound or a steal. Now, we can move on to bigger and better things.”

Prince Edward was scheduled to travel to Southampton on Thursday night in the Semifinal round. At stake is an invite to the Group AA, Division 3 State Tournament. The Lady Eagles lost in the Region I Semifinals at home last year.

“We're now where we were this time last year. It's going to be tough, but we'll take what we learned tonight, and hopefully be able to make it work at Southampton.”