HARRISONBURG, Va., Feb. 23 -- At the end of the night Friday there was still a sense of unfinished business for the Broad Run girls' basketball team.
The Spartans went up against undefeated Turner Ashby, the top-ranked Virginia AA team, in the Region II semifinals and came up short, 54-46, at James Madison University.
Broad Run players didn't come away in awe of how good the Knights were, though. Instead, they realized just how close they were to a state tournament bid.
"If they're the top-ranked team, we must be top five," Broad Run Coach Mike O'Hara said.
The Spartans trailed 23-20 at halftime and cut the lead to 35-34 on two free throws by Dulles District player of the year Alexis Campbell with 2 minutes 8 seconds remaining. From that point, every time the Knights would build their lead, the Spartans countered with another run to cut it to a one-possession game.
"They were talked up a lot," Broad Run senior Daniele Delahaba said. "We go into games thinking we don't know who they play or where their record comes from. We weren't intimidated."
Two long scoring droughts in the fourth quarter hobbled the Spartans (21-6). They didn't score for the first five minutes of the quarter and then didn't score again until there was 1:54 to play. Freshman Maggie Andricosky sank two free throws, and senior Erin Thompson stole an inbounds pass and scored on a layin to cut the Knights' lead to 45-40.
"There were little things like turnovers, definitely a couple calls we wish we could have gotten, but in the end you just have to play through those things," said Thompson, who finished with 10 points.
Broad Run cut the lead to three two times on back-to-back layups by Andricosky and Campbell (13 points), the last coming with 42 seconds left, but the Knights (27-0) finished 5 for 6 at the line in the last 30 seconds to seal the win and earn a berth into next week's state tournament.
As close as Broad Run was to states, simply getting to the region tournament looked like a stretch when the Spartans started their season with just two seniors.
"If I would have known in the beginning of the year that we were going to finish 21-6, I would have jumped for joy," O'Hara said.
"We believed we could win tonight, but in the end we're happy with this season, and all we can do is pat ourselves on the back."
Turner Ashby 54, Broad Run 46
Up Next: Turner Ashby will play the winner of the Charlottesville-Handley game at 8:45 Monday night at James Madison.
Losing Trend:Four of Broad Run's six losses this season came to AAA teams.