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Woodgrove’s first state playoff trip ends in semifinal loss to R.E. Lee

Woodgrove High School’s initial trip to the Virginia Division 3 girls basketball tournament came to a close March 6 following a 58-34 semifinal loss to an agile R.E. Lee (Staunton) squad at the Siegel Center in Richmond.

The Wolverines (25-5) were unable to crack Lee’s defense, shooting 12 of 37 from the floor. Brooke Basinger, with a team-high 11 points, was the only Woodgrove player to break double-digits in scoring.

“It was pretty hard to get looks inside,” said All-Dulles District forward Stephanie Purnell, who produced six points and a team-high eight rebounds. “They knew when to pressure the top, and they knew when to pressure the bottom.”

Defensively, the Wolverines struggled both inside and outside the perimeter. Jamila Thomas scored 17 points for Lee (22-6), and Angela Mickens dictated the game while netting a near triple-double with a game-high 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Mickens, a four-star recruit committed to James Madison University, scored 15 of her points at the free-throw line.

“The Mickens girl is the best ballplayer we’ve seen all year,” Woodgrove coach Kevin Copley said. “Ashley [Tilly] did her best to stay with her but she drove and penetrated, got to the free throw line and got rebounds.”

Though the Wolverines were down only 28-18 at the half, a sluggish second half that began with a 12-0 Lee run ballooned the deficit to 22 points. Overall, Woodgrove was outscored 17-9 in the third quarter.

The trouble was exacerbated by Woodgrove’s foul trouble and persistent turnovers. With four fouls, Purnell had to sit a mere minute into the second half, and Tilly fouled out before the third quarter ended. The Wolverines doubled Lee in both fouls and turnovers, accruing 28 fouls and 22 turnovers to Lee’s 13 and 11 respectively.

“I think we all know we’re not supposed to foul, and we try not to foul and just keep getting those calls,” Maggie Buxton said. “We were more frustrated with ourselves. We didn’t do what we wanted to do.”

Lee, which boasts eight seniors on its 10-player squad, will play Liberty in the state championship game March 10.

The future is bright for second-year Woodgrove, who qualified for the state playoffs without any seniors on its roster. The Wolverines earned a share of the Dulles District season title, advanced to the finals of the district and region tournaments, and won their first-ever state playoff game this winter.

“The sky is the limit for this program,” Copley said. “This team is made of athletes.”

R.E. Lee 58, Woodgrove 34

RE: Mickens 19, Thomas: 14 Crawford 14, Thompson 3, Parrish 3, Maddox 2, Jinkawa 1

W: Bro. Basinger 11, Purnell 6, Lynch 5, Buxton 5, Hardison 4, Tilly 2

Halftime: R.E. Lee, 28-18

3 pointers: Lee 4 (Thomas 3, Thompson); Woodgrove 1 (Basinger)

Free throws: Lee 24-39; Woodgrove 9-17


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