ROANOKE — Meredith Wells scored four points in the final 45 seconds to preserve a 50-44 win for Lord Botetourt over E.C. Glass in the first round of the eight-team Knights Winter Classic on Friday.
Botetourt led by as many as 16 in the third quarter, but Glass used a pressure defense to create turnovers and spark a rally by scoring in transition.
Glass had a chance to tie late, but Miette Veldman gathered a Hilltopper miss for the biggest of her 19 rebounds. She found Wells for an outlet pass that led to a layup and pushed the Botetourt lead to four with 45 seconds remaining. After another miss by Glass, Wells gathered possession and was fouled, making both free throws with 14 seconds remaining to provide insurance points that were the final margin.
Wells’ free throws were her only two of the game, but the Cavs struggled from the stripe, a fact noted by coach Renee Favaro.
“I’m glad Meredith made those free throws,” Favaro said. “At halftime we were 5 for 15 from the free throw line. We missed 15 free throws in the game. That will do it to you every time. We’re going to have to be better tomorrow.”
Favaro credited Glass’ pressure with turning the game around. Hilltoppers coach Anitra Thomas said her team mounted a comeback when the energy picked up.
"The difference in the game, especially in the second half, was the energy and intensity we had,” Thomas said. “The first half we came out really flat, shot the ball awful. The second half we came out with a lot more energy. At one point we were down 35-20, then we started to chip away.”
The game was played in the tiny gymnasium at Cave Spring Middle School due to the reconstruction of Cave Spring High School. The court is several feet shorter than a regulation high school court.
Favaro said the smaller court made a difference, but it’s a change the Cavs will have to deal with in the next two games.
“Playing on this condensed court makes things trickier. Pressing works a little bit better because the court is smaller,” Favaro said. “That’s no excuse. We have to execute a little bit better in the half court. It felt like our transition game wasn’t as good as it normally is, maybe because we didn’t have the same amount of space as usual, but we just have to adjust.”
Veldman led all scorers with 26 points. Wells added 12 for LB.
Glass had three in double figures — Mya Hamlet led the ‘Toppers with 12, Amari Osei scored 11 and Jeriyah Osborne added 10. Jordyn Goode and Hamlet each had four boards.
Glass will play LCA in the first game Saturday at 2 p.m. Lord Botetourt will face Franklin County at 5:30 p.m.
Salem and Cave Spring do not play.
The night’s last quarterfinal was supposed to be tournament host Cave Spring taking on Salem, but the Spartans had a conflict with the limit on the number of games a team is allowed to schedule. The determination was made to move Cave Spring on in the winners’ bracket with Salem dropping to the losers’ bracket.
Cave Spring will play Abingdon at 7:30 in one semifinal.
Salem will face Brookville at 3:45 in the bottom bracket.
Franklin County 33, LCA 25
Franklin County got most of its offense in a late-game burst to top Liberty Christian Academy 33-25. The Eagles scored 20 fourth-quarter points after posting only 13 in the first three quarters. They trailed by four going into the final frame, but Jaedyn Jamison scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the fourth to spark the comeback.
LCA was led by Alex Camplin with 10 points.
Abingdon 55, Brookville 25
Abingdon used a smothering defense to hold Brookville to just 14 points in the first half as the Falcons ran away with a 55-25 win over the Bees in the final game of the day.
The Falcons led 32-14 at halftime then pulled farther ahead, shutting out Brookville in the final quarter.
Sarah Walters led all scorers with 17 points. Peyton Carter added 12.
Kylie Stark paced the Bees with 14 points.