Gallery by Tina Laney
Wednesday night in Monroe County, it wasn’t Ali versus Frazier, but it was still a heavyweight classic just the same.
In the end it was James Monroe that applied the deciding haymaker.
Entertaining Class A No. 6 Greenbrier West, the No. 5-ranked Mavericks used a 15-0 fourth quarter run for the final blow in a 53-41 win over the Cavaliers.
“It was a battle. Greenbrier West had not played for seven or eight days and we knew they were going to come in here ready to play, and they did,” James Monroe head coach Mike Hines said.
The visitors did come ready to play.
Trailing by two points early, the Cavaliers connected with the first big lick when they ran off 11 straight points for a 13-4 lead.
“The first half they just killed us on the boards,” Hines said. “Everything they got was five or six feet away from the basket.”
With the Mavs reeling a bit, sophomore Maggie Boroski pulled her team up off the mat.
Fighting foul trouble along the way, Boroski scored 10 first-half points to keep the James Monroe ship afloat.
“She kept us in the game and she was in foul trouble early,” Hines said. “She likes to drive and they were doing a good job taking charges. For Maggie to play like that for us was big.”
Four points down the stretch by freshman Aliyah Clarkson, who subbed in for Boroski, were crucial as well and evened the game at 20-20 with another half to play.
“For a freshman to play like that, in that atmosphere was huge. She was nervous going in and I had to talk to on the sideline,” Hines said. “For her to get those points was a big boost.”
The Mavericks landed the first big blow of the third quarter.
Haley Hunnicutt drilled a corner 3-ball that sparked a 9-2 run for the home team and forced a Greenbrier West timeout.
“They played hard the whole first half and they wanted to win. They knew they weren’t out of it,” Greenbrier West head coach Mark Agee said. “It was mostly them talking to themselves as a team during the timeout. They talked to each other about going back out and picking it up as a team.”
Six points in a row from Preslee Treadway, who scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, preceded a layup from Brilee Redden which put West back in front 30-29.
When the third quarter horn sounded, the Mavericks held a slim 36-35 lead.
After sitting most of the third quarter with foul issues, Maddie Fields dropped in a 3-pointer for a two-point lead, but it all unraveled from there for the Cavaliers.
Both teams struggled to score over the next first three minutes, but a huge stick back from Bryleigh Thomas broke open the flood gates for the home team.
The dagger came at the 4:38 mark when Adyson Hines drilled a straightaway 3-pointer for a five-point advantage.
“I was telling her to hold back, but I couldn’t see from this side of the floor that there was nobody guarding her,” coach Hines said. “The girls started looking for her because she had the hot hand.”
Two free throws from Boroski was followed by a nice pick-and-roll between Mary Beth Meadows and Hines for an easy score.
Back-to-back drives to the basket from Hines and Hunnicutt gave James Monroe its biggest lead of the night at 13 points with just over two minutes to play.
“When they go man-to-man, we go to some isolation with Adyson. The girls called it. If they don’t switch, then we have them. They didn’t switch and we got that pick-and-roll,” coach Hines said. “Then a couple of times when the defender closed out on her expecting a 3, she took her to the basket. Adyson played down the stretch how I expect her to play and be that senior leader.”
While the Mavs were pulling away, West was being stymied on the offensive end.
After being forced into a 2-3 zone in the second half due to foul issues, Hines changed things up down the stretch and it paid big dividends.
“They got accustomed to the 2-3, so we went to the 1-3-1 (zone),” Hines said. “It changed how they moved their bodies and we got a couple of steals off cross-court passes and a couple turnovers.”
Also key to the struggles for West was the loss of Fields who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
West lost a key scorer and defender when she was forced to the bench.
“Maddie is a big asset in the middle of our zone. She has the long arms and the long strides,” Agee said. “That is the hardest job in that defense.”
Boroski led the Mavs with 14 points, followed by Hines with 13 and Hunnicutt with 12. The threesome combined for 26 steals and Hines hauled down 16 rebounds.
“I told them to stay patient and battle. Trust in what we are doing and we will score,” coach Hines said. “If they extend out, drive to the middle and then kick it. They adapted to that and I am tickled to death for the girls. That was a big regional win.”
Freshman Brilee Redden play solid for West scoring nine second half points while Fields was down with fouls. Fields finished with six on the night.
The win gives James Monroe the regular season sweep over West.
“The girls played their hearts out. We had some shots that didn’t fall and James Monroe had some shots that did,” Agee said. “We could possibly see them again in the regional and hopefully we can get a win then if we play.”
GW: 13 7 15 6 – 41
JM: 6 14 16 17 – 53
Meagan Poticher 6, Ava Barclay 1, Maddie Fields 6, Preslee Treadway 17, Abigail Thomas 2, Brilee Redden 9. Totals: 17 3-9 41.
Adyson Hines 13, Mary Meadows 4, Chloe Shires 4, Maggie Boroski 14, Haley Hunnicutt 12, Aliyah Clarkson 4, Bryleigh Thomas 2. Totals: 19 12-19 53.
3-pointers – GW: 4 (Fields 2, Redden 2); JM: 3 (Hines, Hunnicutt 2)