The Craig County girls come into the week with a 5-10 record and hopes of winning a couple basketball games before the post-season begins.
The Rockets have three games to close out the regular season this week. They’re at Highland County on Monday, then host Roanoke Valley Christian on Tuesday. The girls conclude the regular season with a make-up game against William Byrd in New Castle on Thursday night.
The girls dropped all three of their games last week, beginning with a 30-28 heart-breaker against Eastern Montgomery in Elliston on January 29. Two foul shots with less than a second on the clock decided the game after Craig let a three-point lead slip away.
With time running out the Mustangs hit one of two foul shots to cut the lead to two, 28-26, and when the second free throw attempt missed there was a scramble for the ball. East Mont came up with it and a long shot banked in to tie the game with 0.9 seconds on the clock.
A long discussion ensued as Craig coach Brock Jones was not awarded a time out he thought he was granted, and on the other side the East Mont coaches insisted the banked in shot was a three, which would have given the Mustangs a one point lead. Eventually it was ruled a two, but Craig coach Brock Jones was called for a technical foul during the discussion and the resulting free throws gave the host Mustangs a wild victory. East Mont, who had six girls in uniform, finished the game with four on the floor after one fouled out and another sprained her ankle in the fourth quarter.
“Physical game and a lot of fouls,” said Jones. “We struggled shooting the ball. Shots just weren’t going in.”
Kailyn Jones had six points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Rockets. Daileigh Donithan also had six points, Jenna Boitnotte had five points and five steals and Kallie Fisher had five points and three steals.
On Thursday of last week the girls hosted Parry McCluer and dropped a 52-24 decision. The Blues are undefeated in Pioneer District play.
“We played well in the first half, only trailing by 11,” said coach Jones. “We were in the game back and forth in the first half. Came out in the second half and the press hurt us. Few turnovers back and forth, but I felt like our girls were in the game the whole time minus the simple mistakes of youth that hurt us.”
Donithan had eight points and three rebounds while Kailyn Jones had six points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Brooklyn Cayton had four points and seven steals.
“She was a monster on the defensive end,” said Jones of Cayton. “We just struggle as a team in general to shoot the ball from outside the paint. We are working hard on shot form and follow throughs and working on getting our shots off when needed. We focus too much on forcing the ball inside and should be settling for the open shots and let our bigs do the work on rebounding.”
On Saturday afternoon the girls hosted Bland County and dropped their third game of the week, 56-35. Bland has a 6’4” center.
“We contained her pretty well, but Bland is a top three team in Region C,” said Jones. “They’re fairly good and shoot the mid-range game well.”
Kailyn Jones had the job of guarding Bland’s big girl and held her own in the paint, finishing with 13 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. Donithan chipped in 11 points and four assists while Kallie Fisher had eight points, four steals and two assists.
“We played well as a team on the defensive end, they just hit their shots,” said Jones.
The Rockets were looking to finish third in the district regular season with a win Monday night at Highland but results were too late for publication.
“Big improvement in my three years,” said Jones. “We finished fifth my first year and last my second year. If we can win at Highland we have a shot to host a region game.”