OK, it's a big night in hoops. At least two area teams will punch tickets to the Group AA state tournament, with the winner of the Handley/Skyline boys and Millbrook/Handley girls games guaranteed a spot. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson and Strasburg girls face elimination games at EMU and Amherst, respectively.
I have full-time reporters headed to Winchester and Harrisonburg to relay info back to me here on the desk at the Northern Virginia Daily in Strasburg.
We do not have anyone in Amherst for the Strasburg game (the 8 p.m. start and lack of places to send the story did not help us out with that one), so if anyone has any info from there, feel free to let me know.
4:41 -- It's not widely-known, but Handley's Tylon Raynor will not play tonight. Big loss for the Judges against the athletic Hawks. Skyline has size on the interior with Luke Pingley, Eric King and Joe Comstock, so this could tip the scales considerably in this matchup.
4:55 -- Lots of discussion in the newsroom surrounding tonight's game. Tommy Keeler is convinced that Strasburg will knock off top-seeded Randolph-Henry tonight. I'm very open-minded on team's upending higher-seeded teams, but Tommy normally isn't. It's one of his defining characteristics, actually. But in conversations that included myself, Tommy, Tim Tassa, Jeremy Stafford and former Daily sports reporter Craig Juer, we all took Randolph-Henry. I called Strasburg's win over George Mason in the Bull Run finals, now let's see if the Rams have another amazing fourth quarter left in them.
5:20 -- OK, our discussions have lead us to pick Handley over Skyline, despite Raynor's absense; Millbrook over Handley in a blowout; Stonewall over Gap, but this is basically a split decision; and R-H over Strasburg. Thoughts?
7:20 -- After some good eats at the local mexican joint, we have our first update of the evening. Tommy Keeler is in Winchester for the regional girls semifinal between Millbrook and Handley. After one quarter, the Pioneers lead, 20-9.
7:26 -- No Tylon Raynor, no problem. The Judges lead the Skyline Hawks in regional boys semifinal action, 33-15, with 5 minutes to go of the second quarter.
7:48 -- The Millbrook girls maintain a comfortable lead at halftime, 40-26.
7:49 -- Skyline has cut Handley's lead in half. Judges 41, Hawks 32 at intermission.
7:51 -- In the Millbrook girls game, Courtni Green has run into foul trouble, which could have an impact on the second half. Tylesa Harper-Scott with 15 points at the break for the Pioneers. Erin Drumheller has 13 for the Judges.
8:07 -- The Pioneers pull away in the girls semifinal, now up 56-35.
8:12 -- Former Daily sports reporter Matt Stanmyre -- now with the Washington Post -- is also at the Handley/Skyline game and checks in with a score. Judges 66, Hawks 62, 2:30 left.
8:35 -- Millbrook 71, Handley 48. Pioneers' girl advance to regional final and state tournament.
8:57 -- A nail-biter in Winchester: Handley 75, Skyline 72. The Judges move on to states, while the Hawks are stopped just shy.
9:15 -- Buffalo Gap 50, Stonewall Jackson 45. Final.