By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. —
Brittany Allen scorched the nets for 37 points and the Richlands Lady Blue Tornado held off a late Graham G-Girls charge for a 71-63 win, Thursday night at Richlands Middle School.
It was Graham that came out with the quick start, taking a 4-0 lead on a basket and two free throws by Emaleigh Gallinger. Richlands came back, taking its first lead on an Allen trey with just over a minute left in the quarter. The Lady Blues led 16-14 after one.
It became the Brittany Allen show in the second quarter as the Richlands’ senior took over the game offensively. Allen drilled threes, made layups, foul shots and jumpers from inside the arc as the Lady Blues began to pull away. Her three at the buzzer gave Richlands its biggest lead of the half 35-22 and she went to the locker room with 23 first half points.
“Brittany is a scorer. She’s always going to be able to get her shot off,” said Richlands head coach Dennis Palmer. “Sometimes she may force it a little bit, but she’s always going to be scoring for us.”
The Blues continued to roll as they started the third quarter. Nadia Ashiq’s three point play pushed the home team’s lead to 17 points before Graham began its comeback.
Five straight G-Girl points on baskets by Ashley Rasnake and Jia Coppola and a free throw by Dejah Carter cut the Blues lead to 12. Richlands led by 14 going into the fourth quarter.
Graham began its final push midway through the final stanza. Down 11, Coppola’s two free throws with 3:33 left got the G-Girls within single digits and Lexi Kiser’s bucket in the lane made it a seven point game. That was as close as Graham would get.
“We got a little bit of rhythm, but Graham played hard,” Palmer said. “Maybe we quit playing and they played hard and got back into it. They are scrappy and they always get after it and they are always aggressive.”
G-Girls head coach Tracy Raban said, “I’m pleased with their effort. I didn’t think we contained Allen like we needed to. I think we let her totally dominate… I don’t think we executed our game plan like we needed to.
“But we never quit, 20 seconds in the ball game and we are still fighting to get back in it. I don’t question our effort, I just think there are a few things we need to fix and we’ll give them a better game next time.”
Gallinger and Coppola led Graham with 12 points apiece and Carter tossed in 10. Graham’s leading scorer Kiser, was held to seven points.
“Nadia (Ashiq) did a good job on their point guard (Kiser),” Palmer said. “She (Kiser) came into the game averaging around 16, 17 points a game. She did a real good job on her and on the offensive end she pushes the ball for us.”
Both teams are back in action tonight as Graham plays at Galax and Richlands hosts Lebanon.
At Richlands Middle School
Lexi Kiser 3 1-4 7, MyKenzie Roach 1 0-0 0, Alysia Leung 0 0-0 0, Emaleigh Gallinger 2 7-8 12, Bethany Evans 0 0-0 0, Casey Spencer 0 2-3 2, Jia Coppola 4 4-4 12, Ashley Rasnake 3 0-0 6, Bailee Poe 1 0-0 2, Dejah Carter 4 2-9 10, Totals 18 16-28 53.
Montana Hearl 2 2-3 6, Nadia Ashiq 1 1-5 3, Lani Rhinehart 1 0-0 2, Brittany Allen 10 14-16 37, Amber Street 1 0-0 2, Olivia Harmon 1 1-2 3, Casey Paxton 0 0-0 0, Sarah Compton 3 2-4 8, Totals 19 20-27 61.
Graham………………..14 8 11 20 - 53
Richlands……………...16 19 12 14 - 61
3-point goals: G – 1 (Gallinger); R – 3 (Allen 3) Fouled out: G – Gallinger; R – None. Technical Fouls: None.