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CHS girls reach regional semifinals, clinch program’s inaugural state berth

Cumberland High School’s varsity girls basketball team lost 61-42 Saturday afternoon to visiting Riverheads High School in the Region 1A East tournament consolation game, which means the Lady Dukes will hold the No. 4 seed in the state tournament.

The Virginia High School League Group 1A state quarterfinal for Cumberland will take place 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Virginia High School in Bristol, with the Lady Dukes facing the Region 1A West champion, George Wythe High School of Wytheville.

Saturday’s contest for Cumberland, seeded third in the region, came less than 24 hours after it had battled the talented No. 7 Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in the 1A East semifinals, resulting in a 49-26 loss for the host Lady Dukes.

“I think last night’s game got us a little tired,” Cumberland Head Coach Omar Liggins said after Saturday’s contest against the Lady Gladiators. “We came out, and we missed a lot of shots. They took advantage of those missed shots, they took advantage of our turnovers, and once again, that was another good team, very polished team, under control, just well-skilled team that we played today.”

Senior forward Bria Anderson led the Lady Dukes with 19 points, adding six rebounds, six steals, two blocks and two assists. Senior guard Angel Parran had 11 points, and senior center Tayziana Booker contributed six points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

Against the Lady Dragons on Friday, Anderson had an atypical night, with only 13 points, though she did add six boards, five steals, four blocks and three assists. Booker had six points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Appomattox Regional grabbed an 18-5 first quarter lead, held a 31-15 advantage at halftime.

Led by two tall players that Liggins said took over the game, the Lady Dragons kept Cumberland from making its trademark second-half rally.

“That team was just good enough to know how to keep you down and you stay down,” he said.

On Saturday, Liggins said he planned to work with his players on a variety of things in practice, including rebounding, in preparation for state-level play in Bristol.

“We’re going to work on some things offensively as far as moving more without the ball, moving the ball a little quicker,” he said. “And then, defensively, we’ve definitely got to work on switching on screens or getting through the screen, because as we saw (today), it’s pretty much what we’re going to start seeing up there — a lot of screening, a lot of backdooring.”