Wise Central clinched a spot in the state’s elite eight Thursday with a convincing 58-35 win over Lebanon in the Region 2D semifinals at the Virginia High Bearcat Den.
With the win, Central (22-4) advanced to Saturday’s regional championship game against familiar foe Ridgeview.
It will be the third meeting between the two Mountain 7 District foes. Central won both regular-season meetings.
The game is scheduled to be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at Virginia High. However, officials are discussing the possibility of the game being played Saturday at Virginia-Wise.
Behind a solid defensive effort and a balanced scoring attack, Central came away with the big win.
The two-time defending state champs got 12 points and 10 rebounds from Dee Cvetnich, 11 each from Brittney Mullins and Brook Porter and 10 from Hannah Carter.
The Lady Warriors also got plenty of help from players coming off the bench.
“People off the bench came in and gave us good minutes, and they’ve worked hard and they’ve prepared hard all year,” said Central coach Robin Dotson. “I’ve not played my bench a whole lot, but these kids can play.”
Lebanon’s Kara Long led the Lady Pioneers (21-7) with 11 points.
WOLFPACK GOING BACK TO STATE
Like Central, heading to the state basketball tournament is something that Ridgeview has grown accustom to in the past few years.
The Wolfpack (20-7) secured its third trip to the Class 2 state tournament in the past four years with a 54-40 victory over host Virginia High (21-5) in Thursday’s other Region 2D semifinal game.
Ridgeview coach Donnie Frazier knew his team’s defense had to be on task in the contest.
“Our kids bought in. In film study, they did everything we asked them to do defensively,” said Frazier. “We rebounded the ball, not a lot of second-chance points. We sent them to the free throw line a few times, but I’m not sure either of their top two scorers got to double figures.”
NOT READY TO QUIT
Ridgeview’s Bailey Frazier and Nikole Counts both got to double figures in the scoring category.
Frazier finished with 22 points, while Counts added 11 for the Pack.
Both of the two seniors said they were not ready for the basketball season to be over.
Bailey Frazier, battling knee and rib injuries, said she was playing in Thursday’s game.
“I definitely wasn’t going to miss this game, knowing this could have been my last one,” said Frazier. “I just know we wanted to come out hot and match their intensity.”
For Counts, one of the region’s top softball players, the focus is still on basketball and continuing the season for at least another week if not two.
“I didn’t want it to end tonight,” Counts said of the Ridgeview basketball season. “I’m really proud of how everyone came out and played.
“This means a lot to me. This is my third time going to state, and it’s very important to me to lead my team to another state title, possibly.”
Virginia High got 13 points from Ale Sydnor.