The Craig County girls’ basketball team qualified for the Class 1, Region C tournament with a first round win in the Pioneer District tournament last week. Craig was scheduled to play at Galax in an opening round regional game on Monday but results were too late for press deadlines.
The Rockets were one of eight teams in this week’s region. Other first round games found Bland County(12-12) at Covington(14-11), Rural Retreat(14-8) at Parry McCluer(21-2) and Narrows(13-8) at George Wythe(14-11).
The semifinals are scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, at Eastern Montgomery High School. If the Rockets won Monday they would take on the Covington-Bland winner at 6 pm tonight. The championship game is Friday at East Mont at 6 pm and both finalists advance to the state tournament, with the region winner getting the better seed.
Craig came into the regional with an 8-14 overall record. Higher seeded Galax was 20-3, but Rocket coach Randy Hale felt like his girls’ had a punchers’ chance of pulling the upset.
“They’re not nearly as good as Parry McCluer,” said Hale. “They don’t have a lot of big girls, and if we shoot well I think we can beat them.”
The Rockets earned a spot in the regional when they beat Eastern Montgomery in the Pioneer District tournament opener last week. Craig took a 46-38 win in New Castle despite falling behind 10-0 at the outset.
“We won, but we didn’t play all that well,” said Hale. “We had 30-some turnovers and we shot 12 for 32 from the line. How we still won, I have no idea.”
Tierrney Zysk led the Rockets with 17 points. Maddy Oliver had 12 and Taylor Sloss and Kaylee Pauley had eight each.
The win put Craig in Wednesday’s semifinal against Parry McCluer at Bath County and it wasn’t pretty, as the Rockets lost to the Blues for the third time this year. The first two weren’t close and this one started out better, as Craig trailed just 14-6 after the first quarter. However, the Blues outscored the Rockets 50-3 from that point and won 64-9.
That put Craig in Friday’s third place game, also at Bath County. The Rockets were hurt by illness, as Autumn Hutchison returned from an absence but was still not 100 percent and Jaci McAlwee missed the game with sickness that’s been going around the school. Oliver played, but was also somewhat under the weather.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said Hale, as the Rockets lost 55-22. “I don’t know how much the sickness contributed to the loss, but it didn’t help.”
Zysk had 10 points but she only had two rebounds and Tierrney is usually in double figures. The Rockets had just 17 total rebounds for the game, led by Sloss with four.
Parry McCluer creamed Covington in the tournament final, 84-24, to continue their domination of the district. The Blues, Covington, Narrows and Craig all advanced to this week’s regional tournament, and at press time Hale was hoping his girls were feeling up to it.
“I wanted to have a practice on Saturday but three girls called in sick, so I cancelled it,” he said. “I’m not feeling too good myself. The way it’s been going around the team I’m not surprised.”