By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Huguenot girls basketball coach Bo Jones Jr. had to quickly throw his scouting reports about Central out the window on Friday night, but it didn't stop his team from pulling out the regional title.
Huguenot as it was able to knock off Central, 48-43, before a packed gym in the 3A East region girls basketball final. Both teams advance to next weekend's Class 3A state semifinals. Central will play Spotswood at JMU, while Huguenot will play Broadway at VCU.
"I thought we played tough. We hung with them," Central coach Mallory Skarupa said. "We played, for the most part, very well. We just had a little breakdown there at the end of the game. Emotions take over and not sticking to our game plan."
Jones said his scouting report on Central leading scorer Katelyn Poston was wrong, and he was surprised by her play in the early going. Poston had seven of her team-high 12 points in the opening quarter.
Huguenot led 15-14 after the first quarter, thanks to a 3-pointer by Taya Robinson at the buzzer. Huguenot then began rotating several players in to face guard on Poston as part of the box-and-one defense that Huguenot was using.
"Trying to make it harder [for Poston]," Jones said. "We wanted to make others score. Fortunately, they were kind of off tonight, and it was a tough win."
With Poston's touches being limited, other players had to step up for Central and they did.
Central sophomore Brooklyn Pumphrey came off the bench and had a combined six points in the second and third quarters to help keep Central going on offense.
Central (19-9) started a 9-0 run with a basket by Sydney Plum with 25 seconds left in the third period.
Central freshman Tamra Scott scored off a pass from Poston, and Poston scored on a layup to cut the lead to one. Central senior Mary Wakeman then drilled a 3-pointer to give Central its first lead since the final seconds of the first quarter.
"I had a lot of adrenaline from the crowd," Wakeman said. " My shot was off before the game. So, I was like, 'Oh God, here we go.' And then just having so much support from my teammates rebounding and passing it to me, I think I just I felt like I owed that to them."
Jones said from his scouting reports he expected Central to play man-to-man or a box-and-one against Robinson, but Central used a 2-3 zone instead.
Robinson, a freshman, scored seven points during an 11-0 run that put the game away for Huguenot.
"I just told the girls, listen drive when we can," Jones said of playing against the zone. "Robinson's a great kid. She doesn't like scoring that much. She enjoys passing, sharing the ball, playing team ball. At times we need her to score when games get tight, and tonight she did that."
Robinson finished with 26 points, while Jamazia Fleming had 13.
Poston had three assists, while Wakeman had 11 points and three assists for Central. Rebecca Truban added six rebounds and one block, while Plum had six points and three assists.
Central will now have a week to regroup and get ready for another big challenge when it faces defending state champion Spotswood next week. Central will be playing in the state tournament for the first time since 1996, when it won the Group A state title.
"We're just so excited for making history and it just feels great," Poston said. "We're hoping we can finish and build on what was made 18 years ago."
"We're all still so pumped for states," Wakeman said. "This is a little bump in the road, but we're going to overcome it. I think we're going to go back out and shock everybody Friday or Saturday, whenever we play."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd