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East Rock too much for Galax

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The Eagles won their 29th game and ended the careers of Galax’s seniors one game short.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

RICHMOND –– The road to Richmond started for Galax’s seniors when they were promising but marginally successful freshmen. It started for the Maroon Tide’s coach when he was a half a world away.

That long journey came to a dead end on Thursday, one exit short.

East Rockingham simply proved to be too much for the Maroon Tide to handle as the deep, talented and seasoned Eagles eliminated Galax 59-40 in the Group A Division 1 girls’ semifinals at VCU’s Siegel Center.

“We have five seniors who have been on the team for four years and I just want to say how proud I am of them,” said Stoneman, who applied for and got the vacant head coaching position while on a leave of absence from his athletic director’s job, pulling an active duty stint with an Army Reserve supply unit in Iraq. “Three of them have started four years. They ran into a really good team.”

That, they did.

Galax (21-6) trailed by five points, 21-16, on Bailey Shumate’s jump shot with 2:34 left in the first half when East Rockingham (29-1) finished the half with a 6-2 run, then stretched its lead to 41-22 by the 4:30 mark of the third period on a jumper by Katie Dofflemyer, who had canned a 3-pointer earlier in the spurt.

Dofflemyer finished with a game-high 17 points.

“She was feeling it today,” East Rockingham coach Paul Comer said. “She’s a capable scorer. She’s been able to score for us, she just hasn’t had a need to do it. We talked about it in the locker room that a lot of people probably didn’t prepare for her, but she’s got the capability to do it.”

Dofflemyer’s production caught Stoneman by surprise, as well.

“Definitely not from her,” he said. “I thought [Chase Raynes] would get her points. I didn’t get a lot of information on them, but I knew Raynes was their region’s player of the year. But they’re so good, probably seven or eight deep, and they could start any one of those. The problem for us was trying to guard all of them on the perimeter. “

Raynes was playing in her third straight final four, having been a sophomore on Spotswood’s Division 4 state runner-up team two years ago, knocking off Carroll County in the quarterfinals, before the Spotswood school district split and East Rockingham opened its doors last year. She finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

The loss ended the careers of four-year Galax starters Bailey Shumate, Allison White and Taylor Bryant, six Maroon Tide seniors in all.

“We’ve had a blast,” said Allison White, one of two 1,000-point scorers on the team. “We do our own thing in the spring but we play volleyball and basketball together. We just work hard and have fun doing it, working toward common goals.”

The Tide was no stranger to the Siegel Center floor, with eight members of the hoops team participating in the state volleyball semifinals in December.

“That helped with the nerves a lot,” said Shumate, Galax’s other 1,000-point scorer. “We’ve been out there before.”

There was just too much East Rock to keep track of. All five Eagle starters could put the ball on the floor and they repeatedly spread, drove and dished, and for the most part hit their shots.

“Everyone of them could take us off the dribble,” Stoneman said. “We couldn’t match up on the perimeter that well. They’d take us and rotate it and kick it back out.”

East Rockingham shot close to 45 percent in both halves, hit 10 of 13 free throws and got a dozen points from both Raynes and Jessica Lam.

Stoneman pulled his starters with 2:19 to play, but returned his seniors to the floor with 1:16 to go. The move drew the ire of some unenlightened Eagles fans. Stoneman explained his move to the East Rock coach.

“They’ve meant so much to our program and I wanted my seniors to be on the floor and finish the game together because they had played the last four years together,” he said.

The final horn was a passing of the torch, which was firmly grasped by Sydney Lindsey. The freshman led the team with 12 points and shared rebounding honors with White, each with nine.

“I was definitely nervous, but I really wanted to win this game,” Lindsey said. “I just wanted to play my hardest.”

 

East Rockingham......14  13  21  11––59

Galax............................7  11  15    7––40

 

East Rockingham (29-1)

K.Dofflemyer 7 1-2 17, Comer 1 4-4 6, Lam 4 3-4 12, Raynes 4 2-4 12, Nicholson 2 0-0 4, Cash 1 0-0 2 , Smith 0 0-0 0, Wilkins 0 0-1 0, O.Dofflemyer 0 0-0 0, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Propes 0 0-0 0, Kisling 0 0-0 0, Shifflett 3 0-0 6. Totals 22 10-13 59.

Galax (21-6)

Russell 0 1-2 1, Shumate 4 0-0 10, White 3 2-2 8, Bryant 1 0-0 2, Ha.Cassell 1 0-0 2, Davis 0 0-0 0, Ayers 1 0-0 2, Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Hanks 0 0-0 0, Vaughan 1 1-1 3, Ho.Cassell 0 0-0 0, Lindsey 4 4-4 12. Totals 15 8-9 40.

 

3-point field goals – East Rockingham 5-13 (K.Dofflemyer 2, Raynes 2, Lam), Galax 2-11 (Shumate 2). Rebounds – East Rockingham 33 (Raynes 8), Galax 2 (White, Lindsey 9). Assists – East Rockingham 16 (Comer 7), Galax 8 (Shumate, Lindsey 2). Turnovers – East Rockingham 15, Galax 20. Team fouls – East Rockingham 9, Galax 13. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – none.