With last week’s Conference Championships both the L.C. Bird boys’ and girls’ basketball teams were assured spots in the 5A South Region tournament. Both figured to have excellent opportunities to win the two games needed to advance to state. While the boys fell in a double overtime thriller to Henrico last Wednesday, The Lady Skyhawks are two wins away from achieving their preseason goal of a state championship in All-American Taja Cole’s senior season.
Picking up from last week’s Village News, the girls continued their run with a battle against 25-0 Highland Springs last Wednesday. The Springers and Skyhawks faced each other in the L.C. Bird holiday tournament, as Highland Springs took the game by 15 points.
The Skyhawks had other ideas, shooting the lights out and maintaining a strong lead throughout to end the Springers’ run with a 61-46 victory, eliminating them from postseason contention. Big players have big games in the postseason and Taja Cole carried the Skyhawks, pouring in 37 points. Later in the week, Cole was selected for the Jordan Brand All-Star Team.
L.C. Bird advanced to play perennial power Princess Anne in the 5A South Region Championship game and fell 64-43. Trailing throughout, the Skyhawks will need to make adjustments if the two teams should meet again in the final.
On Friday at the Siegel Center at 11:45 a.m., the Skyhawks will play Thomas Edison (Alexandria, Va.) for a spot in the state championship game. Thomas Edison participated this season in the StatVA classic, a popular high school tournament held at Highland Springs, and defeated Prince George 60-48. Thomas Edison is 21-1 this season and has won three straight region championships. They are led by junior guard Jada Graves.
The boys advanced to the second round of regionals and got the match-up that everyone has talked about since the pre-season with Henrico, who have eliminated them two straight years. This year, unfortunately for the Skyhawks, ended the same way as L.C. Bird fell 111-99 in a double overtime thriller.
It’s safe to say that senior and VCU signee Kenny Williams left it all on the floor a week ago. Williams rebounded a miss in the lane and hit a short jumper at the buzzer to force overtime, and drove the lane with 12 seconds left in overtime to force double overtime in front of a raucous capacity crowd at Hermitage High.
Key missed free throws down the stretch, coupled with a large difference in free throw attempts (Henrico’s 54 vs. Bird’s 23) helped do the Skyhawks in for the third straight season. Henrico used L.C. Bird’s presence in the double bonus to chip away at a ten point Skyhawk lead with 4:58 to play in regulation.
The Skyhawks finished the year at 23-3 with their three losses coming to three of the best teams in the state in Cape Henry, Virginia Episcopal, and Henrico.
We’ll have twitter coverage of all Chesterfield County and tri-cities teams throughout the week for state tournaments @VNewsSports. In addition to L.C. Bird other area girls’ teams involved include Monacan, Midlothian, Cosby, John Marshall and Petersburg, while the George Wythe and Hopewell boys’ are still alive in the 3A state title hunt.