They darken the gym and turn on the spotlight when introducing the Centreville girls’ basketball starters at home games. That light might feel a little hotter these days now that the Wildcats have lost two starters, likely for the season, forcing other players into more prominent roles on a team with Virginia AAA Northern Region title aspirations.
Playing their second game Friday night after losing junior guards Ashley Brusick (high ankle sprain) and Katie Blumer (strained knee ligament) to injury, the Wildcats ran off an impressive 55-30 win over Westfield on senior night.
With the win, the Wildcats locked up at least second place in the AAA Concorde District and earned an automatic berth into the region tournament.
Junior guard Jenna Green led Centreville (17-2, 6-1) with 16 points and 10 steals. Seniors Tori Collar and Clara Logsdon added nine points each and fellow senior night honoree Kiran Ghuman added four points and five rebounds.
The team had not planned to say so long to Brusick and Blumer, who combined for 17.7 points per game and accounted for 60 of the team’s 110 three-pointers entering Friday.
“When our two shooters got hurt, we were like, ‘uh oh,’ ” Green said. “But I wasn’t really that worried, because I know everybody on this team is really good. We had to change our game a little bit. We had to become even more of a driving team.
“I’m not worried,” Green added. “I thought it would take a lot longer than that for us to get together, but we were right into it the next game after both of them were hurt and we’re already winning by 20 points.”
“I’ve been pretty happy with the kids who have stepped in,” said first-year Centreville Coach Tom Watson, adding that junior Elizabeth Richards hit four three-pointers in a 100-second span in a recent game. She hit two more Friday night.
Westfield (12-6, 5-3) played what very likely could have been its worst half of the season. In the first two quarters, the Bulldogs missed 25 of 28 shots, their first six free throws, committed 16 turnovers and gave up a 12-0 run after scoring the first basket of the game.
Westfield finished nine of 58 from the floor and 12 of 26 from the free throw line in posting a season-low scoring total. Senior post Jules Abruzzo, averaging 14.1 points per game, was held to one basket. She grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Kiki Laux led the Bulldogs with eight points.
“The shots were there close in, a lot of contact, but we just didn’t finish,” said Westfield Coach Maggie Endler. “We got down and then we couldn’t dig ourselves out of it. Shots weren’t falling and things just weren’t looking good.”
“I think it’s going to be a much better game,” Green said. “We know what we’re up against. We need to stay calm and play our game.”