RICHMOND — At some point, a sense of satisfaction might replace the sense of frustration that Stonewall Jackson junior forward Nicole Floyd and her teammates felt Monday night in a Virginia AAA girls’ basketball semifinal at Siegel Center.
For now, after a 48-38 loss to Princess Anne, the eighth-ranked Raiders are stuck with wondering what could have been if a couple more shots had rolled through the rim instead of off, or if third-leading scorer Taylor Character had not blown out her knee three games ago, or if they could have better sustained a defensive effort that allowed only three first-quarter points.
“You have to expect some of those things to happen,” Floyd said after her 12-point, 18-rebound, five-block night, which was tempered a bit by 4-of-16 shooting. “It was really a downer for me to have it happen in such a big game. It was a bad night as far as my shots falling, but I think we did a good job of shot selection.”
It sure looked good early, when the Raiders took an 11-3 lead less than a minute into the second quarter on an offensive rebound and drive down the lane by senior Amanda Hinton.
Princess Anne (30-1), which finished the game with 21 offensive rebounds, went on a 10-0 run that bridged the second and third quarters to take a 10-point lead that Stonewall could trim to five only once, with 1 minute 54 seconds left, when junior guard Desare’ Williams scored to make it 41-36.
In the final 2 1/2 minutes, Princess Anne missed two front ends of one-and-ones and on four other occasions missed one of two free throws. The Raiders (24-4) failed to take advantage, managing only one field goal in the final 2:15 in ending their 16-game winning streak.
“We were getting the shots that we wanted,” Stonewall Coach Diana Martinez said. “Unfortunately, it just wasn’t falling. Defensively, we had the game plan down. I thought we executed it well, we just got beat off the bounce a couple of times.”
In addition to the absence of Character, senior guard Danielle Burns, a Fordham signee who returned to action in the postseason after missing the entire regular season while recovering from a knee injury, played only five minutes after hurting her ankle in the state quarterfinal.
“We figured out we were a little bit quicker than they were, and we used the speed to our advantage,” said Princess Anne Coach Darnell Dozier, whose team’s plan was to try to keep the Raiders out of the lane and have junior center Janayla White (11 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks) tangle with Floyd.
Princess Anne advanced to face Lake Taylor (27-1), a 64-49 winner over Colonial Forge, in the state championship at 7 p.m. Friday.
Princess Anne, in the final for the fifth straight year, beat Stonewall in the 2011 state championship, so the Raiders’ return to Richmond two years later was an accomplishment in itself.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hinton said. “They tell you coming in not too many teams make it here more than once. We’re very fortunate to be able to do that.”