It began in the fall of 2008, as then-sophomore Taylor Huber and freshman Katie Anderson helped upperclassmen begin a new era of winning at Patrick Henry. They would leave the Patriots, in 2011 and 2012 respectively, as the top two leading scorers in PH basketball history, girls or boys.
But they also left behind a ton of talent, including Tyler and Jasmine Pinder, Summer Price, and Amber Lee.
In all, Price, Lee and their senior cohorts, Rachel Adams, India Coles and Ashley Samuels, would bring a total of 60 victories to Ashland over three seasons.
But all good things must come to an end, and for the Class of 2014 it came in Alexandria at the hands of Thomas Edison, falling 67-41 in the 5A North Region Quarterfinals.
Price scored 26 points in her Patriot finale, ending her career with 1,558 points, second all-time behind Huber, now a junior at Randolph-Macon. Price scored 121 points in four postseason games.
The Patriots would need them all. Amber Lee would spend her final postseason hampered with a right hand injury. India Coles suffered a concussion in Friday’s triple overtime loss to Albemarle in the Conference 16 Championship, 82-76, and did not play in their two region games.
So it was Price who maximized her final chances, ending with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 steals while, one by one, watching teammates foul out as Albemarle slowly took over on the inside, finally putting the Patriots away in the third overtime.
“It looked like a baseball box score. We played seven ‘innings,’” said Patrick Henry head coach Phillip Cobb. “I’ve never had so many players foul out before, then add India getting hurt and we just had to go too deep into our bench.”
Lee spent the weekend nursing her right hand. It obviously affected her shooting in the first half of Monday’s 5A South Region First Round game against Massaponax, missing all but one shot, many of them wildly, before bouncing back, scoring 13 of her 15 points after intermission.
“We came out flat,” Cobb said, disappointed in Monday’s first half performance. “We did not have the same intensity that we had the last week.”
Price had 28, yet Massaponax had a chance to tie the game and force another overtime thriller in Ashland, but failed to make a three-pointer in the game’s final seven seconds.
Some of the future for the Patriots shined Monday, as Briana Woody scored six points, but, more importantly, spent quality minutes handling the ball offensively, cutting down on turnovers from Friday’s Albemarle loss, starting in the place of the injured Coles.
“We thought we would have India available. We just got the word that she could not play before game time,” Cobb explained.
The 52-49 victory sent Patrick Henry up Interstate 95 less than 24 hours later to face Conference 13 champion Edison in Alexandria, who simply had too much strength and scoring power for the Patriots to overcome. It was a 16-5 run by Edison through the second quarter that built a 14-point halftime lead that the Patriots couldn’t overcome.
Patrick Henry completes the 2013-14 season with a 16-6 record, a 60-15 mark over the past three seasons. They lose Price to Campbell University, Lee undoubtedly to a college next season, Samuels to James Madison softball, plus Coles and Rachel Adams. The future in Ashland, like the basketball at the opening tip, is now up in the air.
The Atlee girls handed Prince George their first, and only, loss of the season, upsetting the Royals 54-52 Tuesday in the 5A South Region Quarterfinals at L.C. Bird High School in Chester.
Wake Forest commit Ariel Stephenson of the Royals missed a free throw in the final seconds that would have tied the game and Atlee added one free throw for the two-point margin of victory.
The Raiders get a third shot at Highland Springs in Region Semifinal action Friday, 6 p.m., at Hermitage High School. Atlee lost both previous encounters to the Springers by more than 50 points.
In boys action, Hanover’s season came to an end in Yorktown, falling to Grafton in the 4A South Region Quarterfinals, 76-68. The Hawks finish the season 14-9, falling in their last two games.
In their fifth meeting with Conference 20 rival Glen Allen in the inaugural Conference 20 Championship game, they fell 71-44 to the Jaguars Friday night, forcing them to go on the road in the quarterfinals.
Patrick Henry’s boys team saw their Cinderella run in the playoffs end in heartbreaking fashion, 59-58 to Massaponax Monday night.
The Patriots had two shots at the winning basket but both fell short of the rim, ending their season in the 5A North Region First Round with a 6-13 record.