CHS Girls Move Into JRD Tournament Semifinals

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

CUMBERLAND – Despite having a poor shooting night, the Cumberland High School girls basketball team was able to overcome its woes to move on in the James River District Tournament on Tuesday night with a 50-40 victory over Central of Lunenburg.

The Lady Dukes, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, were scheduled to face No. 3 Randolph-Henry on Thursday night in Cumberland. The winner will move on to play the championship game on Saturday at the highest remaining seed.

“We knew it was going to be tough for us,” said CHS head coach Omar Liggins. “This is the postseason, and everyone is 0-0 to start. They're a dangerous team.

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“I thought we came out a little flat tonight. I don't know if it's because there is no JV game or what, but some of that has to go to Central. They showed that they weren't going to go out without a fight.”

Central grabbed an early lead and led through most of the first quarter. Two quick transition buckets in the final minute gave the Lady Chargers an 11-9 lead.

Central was able to nurse its small lead for most of the second quarter. After an Annesha Harris jumper gave CHS its largest lead of the night at 20-17, the Lady Chargers retook the lead at 21-20 on a bucket by Ron'Nequah Smith.

Akira Davenport scored the final five points of the half to give the Lady Dukes a 25-21 advantage going into the half.

Cumberland extended its lead to 29-21 early in the third on transition baskets by I-Mecka Anderson and Davenport, but with an opportunity to basically put the game away at the line, the Lady Dukes struggled to build any additional lead. Over the final 4:16 of the third quarter, Cumberland was 3-10 from the foul line.

Central slowly chipped into the nine-point lead to make it a 34-28 game at the end of the third quarter

Cumberland junior forward Kamren Gilliam helped her team get a little cushion early in the fourth. She hit five of six free throws and scored on a layup with 3:35 remaining to give the Lady Dukes a 43-32 lead. Cumberland took its largest lead of the game, at 46-34, on an Anderson runner with 1:51 remaining.

Though unable to pull away, Cumberland did, however, maintain a four-score advantage the rest of the way to secure the victory and move on into the semifinal round.

“At this point, you don't care how you win as long as you win” said Liggins. “I do have to praise the girls for not panicking when Central had the lead in the first half. They kept with it, battled through the difficulties we had scoring and were able to get and maintain a lead in the second half.”

Sha'Diquah Williams led Central with 13 points, while Smith scored eight for the Lady Chargers.

Anderson led the Lady Dukes with a gma-high 16 points, while Gilliam scored 13, Davenport added 11 and Harris scored 10.

The winner of the Cumberland/Randolph-Henry game will move on to Saturday's championship game, and will play the winner of the semifinal between No. 1 seed Amelia and No. 4 Goochland.

The game will be held at the highest remaining seed, meaning that the Cumberland/R-H winner would either travel to Amelia or host the championship game should Goochland pull the upset.