In the first half alone, the lead traded hands seven times with four ties.
“I knew it was going to be a one- or two-point game the whole time preparing for them,” Woodgrove Coach Kevin Copley said. “Unfortunately, I think the two best teams met in the quarterfinals instead of the finals.”
Trailing since about the four-minute mark of the first quarter, Woodgrove (25-4) tied the game at 48 with two minutes 48 seconds left on a jumper senior guard Sarah Hardison shot just inside the three-point line.
After a Courtland turnover, sophomore Brooke Basinger nailed her own jump shot from about 15 feet out with one minute 50 seconds left to give Woodgrove a two-point lead. Senior Stephanie Purnell added a made free throw.
But as she had for the entire contest, Courtland senior captain Jessica Hairston answered for the Cougars. Hairston swished a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 51.
“I didn’t know if we could recover,” Courtland Coach J.T. Nino said. “Luckily we hit a big three to tie it back up and were able to pull it out.”
Hairston drew a shooting foul on the next possession and converted both free throw attempts to regain the winning margin.
The 5-foot-10 forward led all scorers with 28 points and tied the game at 12 with a buzzer-beating two-pointer as time expired in the first quarter.
“Name it, she did it,” Copley said. “She rebounded, she drove the ball to the hole and she played great defense. She’s a great player.”
Woodgrove spent a long stretch of the third quarter without its own impact player, scoring average leader Purnell. The center tallied her fourth foul at the beginning of the period and fellow frontcourt players Maggie Buxton and Halle Lynch soon joined her with their fourth personals. As they sat on the bench, Woodgrove’s guard-heavy lineup only made one field goal in the quarter, a three-pointer from junior Kaitlyn Lorinchak.
Purnell scored eight of her 15 points in the first quarter, and fellow senior Hardison led Woodgrove with 15 points.
Those seniors are part of a class that established the girls basketball program at Woodgrove, which is fielding a program for only the third season. The Wolverines won the Region II Division 4 tournament last week and made it to the state semifinals last year.
●Loudoun County 53, Grafton 48
The Region II runner-up Raiders will represent the AA Dulles District in Richmond .
After a fourth quarter Loudoun County Coach Derek Fisher described as a tight, ”one-possession” period, the Raiders pulled away for a 53-48 win over Grafton in a state quarterfinal at Old Dominion earlier in the day.
Freshman Elisabeth Gianelos buoyed the Raiders with a season-high 15 point performance.
“She showed up at a really big time and hit seven of nine shots to really lead us,” Fisher said.
Loudoun County (24-5) will face Salem at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at VCU’s Siegel Center.