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Bengals coach Melissa Blair had her team practice against a group of boys. It paid off Saturday.
DON PETERSEN | Special to The Roanoke Times
Basset's Kaliya Barbour (10) clears a rebound against Heritage's Brianna Paige in the quarterfinals of the Group AA Division 4 state tournament at Salem Civic Center on Saturday.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
SALEM - With a little help from the boys, the Bassett girls basketball team reached a program milestone on Saturday.
The Bengals pulled out to a 18-9 lead after one quarter and never looked back as they defeated Heritage 57-44 to win in the Group AA Division 4 girls' quarterfinals at the Salem Civic Center.
"I've been here for seven years and we've been here (quarterfinals) twice, but we've never taken that next step," Bassett head coach Melissa Blair said. "These girls deserve a chance to experience that next step."
Blair added that her squad was aided in their preparation over the last week by a group of boys from the Bassett High student body. The male students played the roles of key Heritage players in practice including Region III Co-Player of the Year Cameron Carter.
"We brought the boys in," Blair said. "We had five guys practicing with us for three days."
Kailya Barbour led the Lady Bengals with 13 points. She agreed with her coach that the week of practices had them ready for Saturday night.
"We paid attention in the gym," Barbour said. "There was no goofing off. We wanted this the most."
Bassett looked to be the more aggressive team as they jumped out to a nine-point first quarter lead. The Pioneers closed to 28-25 at the 1:58 mark of the second period, but that is as close as they would get. The Bengals held Heritage scoreless the first four minutes of the third quarter to extend the lead to 39-27 and pull away.
Along with Bassett's pressure defense, Heritage (25-3) was hampered by 23 turnovers and several missed layups.
"If we would have shot 50 percent with our layups I think we would have won. We just weren't hitting our shots," Heritage coach Bill Hayes said. "At the end of the day we just couldn't get over the hump."
Hayes also believed Bassett's depth advantage eventually wore out the Pioneers. Heritage had a rotation of only six players, while the Bengals had 12 players record at least one point.
"We played the entire season with 7 players, but now we have six. We just ran out of gas," Hayes said.
Blair agreed that her team's bench gave her squad a big advantage.
"That's awesome. Hopefully things like that let us do what we do for four quarters," Blair said.
Heritage, who came into the game with a 21-game winning streak, was led by Carter with 15 points. Carter, however, was held to just eight points through the game's first three quarters.
"I'm proud of the girls," Hayes said despite the loss. "I think 25-3 is nothing to sneeze at."
Bassett (19-4) moves on to the state semifinals in Richmond were it will play Tuesday.
Pannell 4 1-2 9, Bryant 1 0-0 2, Anderson 5 0-3 10, Carter 4 7-10 15, Paige 0 0-4 0, Lowe 4 0-2 8. Totals 18 8-21 44.
>span class="bold">Bassett (19-4)
K. Barbour 6 1-1 13, S. Venable 3 1-2 8, A. Venable 2 0-3 5, Martin 2 0-0 4, Seay 1 0-0 2, Manns-Massey 1 0-0 2, Turner 2 0-0 6, Hubbard 0 2-2 2, Hairston 1 3-4 5, Scales 2 1-2 5, Wyatt 1 0-0 2, A. Barbour 1 1-2 3. 22 9-18 57.
Heritage 9 18 6 11-44
Bassett 18 16 10 13-57
3-point goals - Heritage 0, Bassett 4 (S. Venable, A Venable, Turner 2). Total fouls -Heritage 15, Bassett 15. Fouled out - Bassett (Martin).
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