AM
Lady Blues hold off Dogs’ upset bid
Richlands (57) Vs. Tazewell (38)
Feb 05, 2016
By GEORGE THWAITES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. — It was Sweetheart Night at Tazewell Middle School on Friday. The Richlands girls varsity basketball team got away with the win, but it wasn’t exactly a sweetheart deal.
After a strong start, the Lady Blues found themselves battling an upset-minded Lady Bulldogs squad in the third quarter before finally locking down a 57-38 victory.
“We were kind of flat tonight we didn’t play with a lot of intensity,” said Richlands head coach Dennis Palmer, whose squad absorbed a 22-point night from Tazewell’s Gracey Cline.
“We’ve had a real tough stretch the last five or six games and we’ve got a real tough game tomorrow (with Union). So this was like a trap game for us,” he said.
The Lady Blues (9-9) got a 31-point performance out of recent Pocahontas Coal Association-Bluefield Daily Telegraph Girls Player of the week Olivia Harmon.
The senior scoring engine reeled off 11 of her first-half total of 18 points during a 15-0 opening run that was capped by her 3-pointer with 3:22 remaining in the opening period.
“She can shoot the ball and she can put it on the floor and drive it,” said Palmer. “If you can do those two things, it makes you really tough to guard. Especially man-to-man.”
The Lady Blues led 29-12 at the half, but saw their margin collapse to 10 points after three consecutive 3-pointers by Cline within the final two minutes of the third quarter.
A reorganized defensive effort by the Lady Bulldogs (1-18) got a foot in the door for their second half comeback effort.
“Basically we just let the girls work it out. You try to encourage them to do, but the kids have to do for themselves,” said Tazewell head coach Robin Elkins. “We went to a triangle-and-two to put pressure on Olivia Harmon. She’s an excellent ballhandler and an excellent shooter. We just fell short with it tonight.”
The Lady Bulldogs got to within 39-29 by Cline’s third trey of that frame with 54 seconds remaining in the quarter, but squandered two separate opportunities on the free throw line to bring it down to single digits.
Seania Overton scored off an in-bounds pass in the waning seconds of the third to keep Richlands leading 41-29 headed into the last stanza.
“Tazewell they came out playing hard. They’re getting better and better,” Palmer said. “(Cline) is a good player. She can shoot the ball from 25 feet and it’s hard to get out and guard her. We usually don’t guard that far out. But from 25 feet, she can knock them down.”
The Lady Blues turned their own defense up a notch in the final frame while Nadia Ashiq, who’d gone scoreless over three previous quarters, scored all seven of her points in the fourth to help Harmon lock down the victory.
Richlands’ matinee quad with Union today gets under way with the girls JV tipping off at 2 p.m.
Tazewell returns to action at home Tuesday night against Abingdon.

At Tazewell Middle School
RICHLANDS (9-9)
Nadia Ashiq 3 1-2 7, Jasmine Hess 0 0-0 0, Ericah Burton 2 0-0 5, Seania Overton 2 0-0 4, Olivia Harmon 12 5-7 31, Kendra Humphrey 2 2-2 6, Hayleigh Whited 2 0-0 4, Bailey Hurst 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 8-11 57.
TAZEWELL (1-18)
Gracey Cline 7 3-4 22, Abby Webb 0 0-2 0, Angeline White 0 0-0 0, Adrienne Crouse 0 0-0 0, Karlee Wasilewski 4 0-2 8, Cydnee Moore 2 0-2 4, Lee Ann Mitchem 0 0-2 0, Sarah Ray 0 0-0 0, Shayna McNulty 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 5-14 38.
Richlands....................17 12 12 16 - 57
Tazewell.........................8 4 17 9 - 38
3-point goals: Richlands 3 (Burton, Harmon 2), Tazewell 5 (Cline 5).
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Richlands 17 12 12 16 0 57
Tazewell 8 4 17 9 0 38
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