Grundy wins SEC thriller over Blues
Richlands (48) Vs. Grundy (49)
Feb 16, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. — At tournament time, getting to play at home doesn't always mean you're home free.
Grundy survived an Ericah Burton 3-point shooting spree, holding on for a 49-48 opening-round victory over Richlands in Tuesday's opening round of the Southern Empire Conference girls basketball tournament at Richlands Middle School.
"We match up so well with Richlands in every facet of the game and tonight was such a great showing out of Burton. She was just unconscious and really kept them in the game," said Lady Golden Wave coach Craig Plymal, whose team will advance to take on top-seeded Virginia High at the Bearcats Den in Bristol at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
"We thought we had the defensive strategy to carry us over the top. It all came down to each team having to hit some free throws and each team having to hit some 3s," he said.
Grundy's first-round victory over the Lady Blues marks the first time since 2010 that a Richlands girls team has failed to advance to the region tournament.
"We knew we had to get a good start because we knew they were going to come out playing hard after the last time we played them. We had to get off to a good start and we just came out flat," said Lady Blues head coach Dennis Palmer, whose team trailed 45-39 as late as Autumn Sperry's trifecta with 2:35 remaining in the game but found itself leading 46-45 after Burton's clutch 3 with 1:35 showing.
The Lady Wave (15-9) retook it, 47-46, on a Sperry turnaround hook off the in-bounds at the 50 second mark. Richlands (10-10) claimed what would prove its last lead, 48-47, after Hayleigh Whited drove it to the rim with 33.2 seconds remaining.
Scant seconds later, the Lady Blues appeared on the verge of forcing the pivotal turnover it needed, but the officials ruled that Plymal had signaled for timeout from the bench just before Grundy's possession appeared to be up for grabs.
"When they called that time out on a loose ball, there ... when the ball is on the floor and you blow the whistle ... I don't know," said Palmer. "But you know. Sometimes that happens. We had our chances in the game. We just didn't make plays."
Boyd, who scored 12 points for the Lady Golden Wave, drove in for the bucket that put Grundy up for good.
Richlands called a time out 14.2 seconds to stage a last-possession bid, which seemed to get what it needed when Sperry committed her fifth foul to put Olivia Harmon on the line with 4.8 seconds remaining. Harmon, who finished with eight points, missed both free throws.
After the second shot rimmed out, Boyd snagged the rebound and wrapped it up as time expired.
"There was nothing left," said Plymal. "Every girl that played tonight left it out there in the gym. It was just a great high school girls' ball game.
Sperry scored a team-leading 13 points before fouling out. Emily Lane added 10 points for Grundy and Cass Keen hit four 3-pointers on her way to 12 points.
"Cass Keen shooting the 3 tonight is what really propelled us offensively," Plymal said. "She just had a dynamic game ... she had to turn around and guard Burton on the other end."
Whited finished with eight points for Richlands.
"At the beginning of the game, our intensity level wasn't as high as it was in the fourth quarter," said Palmer, whose team trailed 22-19 at the half. "Give Grundy credit. Coach Plymal did a good job. They came out and played hard and got after us early. They kind of knocked us in the mouth and we didn't really fight back until the fourth quarter."

At Richlands Middle School
GRUNDY (15-9)
Lexi Coleman 1 0-0 2, Emily Lane 3 2-2 10, Hannah Owens 0 0-0 0, Julie Deel 0 0-0 0, Lexy Boyd 5 2-5 12, Cass Keen 4 0-0 12, Kirsten Peck 0 0-0 0, Shelby Blankenship 0 0-0 0, Jessie Caudill 0 0-0 0, Brittany Blankenship 0 0-0 0, Autumn Sperry 4 3-4 13. Totals 17 7-11 49
Nadia Ashiq 2 1-2 5, Jasmine Hess 0 2-4 2, Lani Rinehardt 1 0-0 3, Ericah Burton 8 0-0 22, Seania Overton 0 0-0 0, Olivia Harmon 3 2-7 8, Kendra Humphrey 0 0-0 0, Hayleigh Whited 4 0-0 8, Bailey Hurst 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 5-13 48.
Grundy............................13 9 15 12 — 49
Richlands.......................11 8 16 13 — 48
3-point goals: Grundy 8 (Lane 2, Keen 4, Sperry 2). Richlands 7 (Rinehardt, Burton 6).
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Richlands 11 8 16 13 0 48
Grundy 13 9 15 12 0 49
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