The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Prep Girls Basketball: Bears hang tough, triumph in two OTs
BEVERLY BOUNCES BACK FROM SUB-PAR FIRST HALF TO PACE RIVERBEND
BY NATHAN WARTERS
THE FREE LANCE–STAR
Candice Beverly was more like herself after halftime Friday night, even though she was wearing another player’s jersey.
She changed into the No. 25 after a small cut stained her No. 3 jersey, and then she proceeded to score all 20 of her points after the break to lead host Riverbend to a 50–47 double-overtime victory over Massaponax.
“I’m hard on myself. I played horrible the first half, so the second half, I knew I had to do better,” said Beverly, who also had 10 rebounds.
The Bears (6–6, 4–3 Commonwealth District) overcame an 11-point halftime deficit in their first game since beating Albemarle on Dec. 20.
Beverly, a junior guard, helped spark the comeback by playing strong on the offensive and defensive ends and going after every loose ball and rebound with abandon.
She was even a cheerleader for the fans. In the second overtime, before a Massaponax free throw, Beverly turned to the lethargic Bears home crowd and screamed, “C’mon guys!” while waving her arms upward.
“I know I can count on Candice every single game to give her all on both sides of the court,” Riverbend coach Robert Thomas said. “She’s our emotional leader. She leads by example. She’s a vocal leader. She’s just a great kid.”
Beverly scored seven of her team’s eight points in the second overtime. She converted two uncontested layups in the first 40 seconds of the final period and then scored on a three-point play with 1:48 remaining to put the Bears ahead 49–44.
“I knew I had to finish it that quarter,” Beverly said. “I knew we couldn’t go to any more overtimes. It had to be done.”
Patrice Hounshell scored the next three points for Massaponax (9–5, 6–2) to cut it to a one-possession game.
The Panthers had a chance to tie it up from the free throw line with 33.9 seconds remaining, but they missed both foul shots.
After Riverbend extended its lead to 50–47 with 17.1 seconds left, Massaponax couldn’t get a clean look at the basket for a 3-pointer as time expired.
Panthers senior post player Brianne Comden had 27 points and 15 rebounds for her third straight double–double. She also had six steals.
“She did great. The double–double stands strong,” Panthers coach Adam Brown said. “We needed a few other people to step up with her.”
Massaponax struggled to make shots and was only 7 for 22 from the free throw line.
“I think tonight was an off night for a lot of things, even outside of the free throws. It was the layups. Some of the easy looks, we just didn’t finish,” Brown said.
Beverly was shut out completely in the first half, and the Bears got off to a sluggish start.
The Panthers led 24–13 at halftime, but Riverbend came out with more energy after the break and bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 14–3 run to close the gap.
The Bears tied the game three times in the fourth quarter and forced overtime on a Beverly free throw with 38.2 seconds remaining.
The Panthers had a good look at the basket on their final possession of regulation, but Hounshell’s 3-point attempt from the top of the arc bounced off the back rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Bears, who had a much-needed respite over the holiday break, gutted out the final two periods to complete one of their most impressive wins of the season.
“I gave them a lot of time off over the break and we just had great practices Wednesday and Thursday, and it felt good,” Thomas said. “As soon as they start believing and they play like that, it’s going to be scary.”
Massaponax 9 15 6 6 6 5 — 47
Riverbend 21 11 3 10 6 8 — 50
Massaponax (9-5, 6-2): Kayla Bowler 1, Brianne Comden 27, Emma Grosskopf 0, Patrice Hounshell 5, Tamanya Jones 0, Victoria Washington 11, Alexis Willis 0, Cierra Wormely 3. Totals: 19 7-22 47
Riverbend (6-6, 4-3): Candice Beverly 20, Carmen Beverly 7, Lainey Harmon 7, Brittany Jacobs 2, Hailey McMahon 7, Hannah Stadtler 5, Ashley Vines 0, Ariyanna Young 2. Totals: 15 17-29 50
Three-point goals: Massaponax 2 (V. Washington 2). Riverbend 3 (C. Beverly, L. Harmon, H. McMahon).
Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442