By Jim Laise - firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKSBURG -- Two things happened to Stonewall Jackson's girls' basketball team on its way to trying to upset Wilson Memorial Friday night -- the Generals couldn't make many shots and the Green Hornets knocked home a half-dozen 3's.
Put them together and it was another victory for the streaking Green Hornets, 44-34 in Shenandoah District action.
Wilson Memorial (9-4 overall, 6-1 district) entered the game just behind East Rockingham in the Shenandoah District standings. Stonewall fell to 4-9 and 2-5.
The Hornets have won four in a row while the Generals have dropped their last four. Wilson Memorial has now won five of its last six, including three of four on the road.
Still, Stonewall Jackson allowed the visitors just three baskets in the final quarter, one of which came at the buzzer. Seventeen seconds into the fourth quarter, Coach Jeff Burner's team was down by 13.
There were only two players in double figures -- Stonewall's Hannah Stout had a team-high 13. Wilson Memorial's Whitney Harris had a game-high 17. Harris totaled 12 rebounds and 4 steals. The Hornets' Kahla Mawyer dropped in three 3-pointers.
"We're the type of team that's going to play hard," Burner said. "We just need to hit some shots. We kept digging. We made a couple of defensive mistakes in the second half. We're a consistently good defensive team, we're just not scoring enough."
"We played hard. We're just working on finishing. We've got to do a little better doing that," said Stonewall Jackson's Rhea Jett.
In its last four losses, Stonewall is averaging just a bit better than 32 points, while allowing 40 to the opposition.
The Generals found themselves down 35-22 with 7:43 left in the game on back-to-back 3-pointers by Mawyer -- one to end the third quarter and another to start the fourth.
They scored five straight points over the next 1:47 to trail 35-27 with 5:56 to go.
They got even closer, 38-32, when Stout followed her own missed shot for a putback at the 2:35 mark.
But Harris made a steal, fed to Lexie Deffenbaugh, whose miss was recouped by Harris for the follow up basket, and a 40-32 lead at 2:07. Deffenbaugh, who scored a career-high 25 in a Tuesday overtime victory over Luray, swished two free throws at 1:07 to make it 42-32.
The Wilson freshman totaled 9 points (4-of-4 free throws) against Stonewall Jackson, in part because she sat out a five-minute span of first half minutes with two personal fouls. Unfortunately Stonewall Jackson could not make up for her departure, netting just four second-quarter tallies.
Stonewall Jackson trailed 18-10 with 1:37 remaining in the first half after consecutive baskets by Wilson Memorial's Jordan Sondrol, but then closed it to four at the 5:02 mark of the third quarter.
Emily Jordan ended the first half with a basket and Stout made a putback of her own miss with 7:07 left in the third.
Jordan's goal was the first in six minutes, 24 seconds of second-quarter play.
But Wilson Memorial freshman Jordan Poole's 3-pointer at about the six minute mark put down the run.
Even so, Stonewall Jackson persisted. Stout knocked in two free throws and Erin Goodier had one to cut the lead to 21-17.
Again however, Wilson Memorial answered. A Harris steal led to two Deffenbaugh free throws. Then Deffenbaugh assisted Harris, whose hoop set the score at 25-17 with 2:17 showing.
Stonewall cut it to 25-20 with 1:35 showing in the third, but consecutive scores by Harris gave Wilson Memorial the nine-point lead. It proved to be insurmountable.
"We've been working with [Harris] on her all-around game, particularly on finishing. She was pretty good tonight," Wilson Memorial coach Jackie Bryan said. "We just couldn't get the ball in the hoop. We play a lot of freshman [five are on the roster] and this was finals week. We're tired. Sometimes with freshmen, they have to learn how to handle that. Still, we're 6-1 [in the district] and we'll take it."
"When you hit shots it makes a lot of other things go right," Burner said. "We'll keep at it."