The Brentsville girls basketball team unveiled its new gymnasium last night against Loudoun Valley. Although the hardwood gleamed and the air smelled of fresh paint, the tight rims contributed to an ugly shooting night, which ended in an emotional 33-32 loss for the host Tigers.
With five seconds remaining, Brentsville senior guard Christy Lapihuska took the Tigers' ball but met a wall of Viking players just inside the foul line. Her one-handed effort fell off the side of the rim. Tigers sophomore forward Colleen Thomas grabbed the rebound and put the ball back onto the rim, but not over it, and Brentsville's last chance at victory fell short.
"We wanted to open the gymnasium with a win, and we lost by one point, so this is very frustrating," Lapihuska said.
The Tigers (1-5) made just three of 25 field goal attempts in the second half, and shot 11 of 49 for the game. Loudoun Valley (4-1), a Virginia AA school, made just seven of 26 attempts in the first half, but improved to make 13 of 41 in the game.
"We had been noticing [the rims] during practice, so we expected it, but we're still not used to them," Brentsville Coach Amy Beard said.
Considering the Tigers lost to Loudoun Valley, 58-42, a week ago, Beard saw several positives despite the agonizing ending. Brentsville trailed by six points early in the fourth quarter but rallied behind a three-pointer by Lapihuska and junior Julie Engelhart's rebounding and free throws.
"To come back and fight until the end like that was great," Beard said. "Our defense played great aside from a few lapses. If we can keep playing like we did tonight we are going to contend for the district."
The gymnasium's opening was delayed because its sound system and scoreboard were not completed, said Brentsville Athletic Director Sonny Hagy. The Tigers switched home dates with Liberty instead of opening last Tuesday.
Loudoun Valley junior Valerie Murphy scored on a fast break with 43 seconds left to give the Vikings a 33-30 lead. Lapihuska (game-high 12 points) sank two free throws with 30 seconds left, but the Tigers were unable to foul the Vikings on their next possession until five seconds remained.
Viking junior Sara Scandiffio missed the front end of a one-and-one, setting up Brentsville's final possession.
Loudoun Valley (4-1)--Livesay 0 1-2 1, Cash 3 0-0 6, L. Murphy 0 0-1 0, McLaughlin 2 0-0 5, Everhart 4 2-2 10, Scandiffio 1 1-2 3, V. Murphy 3 2-2 8. Totals 13 6-9 33.
Brentsville (1-5)--Lapihuska 4 3-5 12, Presgraves 2 0-0 4, Clark 1 0-0 2, Thomas 3 0-0 6, Engelhart 1 6-11 8. Totals 11 9-16 32.
Halftime: Brentsville 18, Loudoun Valley 17.
Three-point field goals: Loudoun Valley 1 (McLaughlin); Brentsville 1 (Lapihuska).
CAPTION: Julie Engelhart (44), Tigers teammates can't christen new gymnasium with win.
CAPTION: Vikings' Lindsey Cash (5) plays tight defense on Erin Clark of Brentsville, which had its comeback come up just short, 33-32.
CAPTION: Vikings' Cory Livesay, right, guards Christy Lapihuska, whose free throws with 30 seconds left were Tigers' final points.