Girls’ basketball: Stonewall Jackson fades down the stretch against Cosby in 6A final

Nicole Floyd shrugged off Coach Diana Martinez’s obligatory hug attempt like a weary arm tackle.

The Wake Forest recruit was collected — calm, even — after No. 7 Stonewall Jackson’s 53-46 loss to Cosby in the Virginia 6A final, but she couldn’t hide the dejection. As postgame announcements began, Floyd stood on the edge of the floor at VCU with hands on hips before claiming a seat on the far right edge of the bench.

“It definitely hurts a bit, but you have to remember there’s always room to get better,” Floyd said. “There’s always things you take from the game that you can improve on. I’ll give myself a couple of days to think about what I could’ve done. Not sulk, really, but just to improve for my freshman year of college.”

The Raiders (22-7) overwhelmed the undefeated Titans early on. Sophomore Genesis Parker (11 points, four assists) hit a pair of early three-pointers to give the Manassas school a 14-6 lead with 2 minutes 38 seconds left in the first quarter. The Raiders shot 40 percent in the opening quarter.

Early on, “we played as a team, and if we had kept that up and not had so many turnovers, we would’ve had it,” Parker said.

After Stonewall’s quick start, the Titans, anchored by a trio of 6-foot-plus bigs, took over inside. Cosby (27-0) outrebounded Stonewall 42-30.

“On the high school level, this was the first game where they actually had more than one big,” Floyd said. “At the next level, it’s going to be like that almost every game.”

Still, Stonewall had a chance when Floyd commanded a frantic possession and drilled an NBA-distance three-pointer with 17 seconds left to pull within 49-46. But with Stonewall forced to foul, the Titans went 6 for 6 from the line down the stretch.

“They made free throws,” said Floyd, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. “Free throws were key, so you can’t really do anything about that.”

It’s the second straight time Stonewall’s season has ended at Siegel Center. The Raiders lost to Princess Anne, 48-38, in last year’s AAA semifinals.

“I’m very proud of our kids,” Martinez said. “We came into this game as an underdog. And I think starting off from the first quarter and the opening tip, we proved we belonged on the court. We belonged in the state championship game.”

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