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Gaurd Sa'Mone Moore tied the score with two minutes left, but the Cougars fell short.
DON PETERSEN | Special to The Roanoke Times
Covington's Sa'mone Moore drive against Castlewood's Kirey Purtee (3). Moore scored 17 points for the Cougars.
Friday, March 1, 2013
Depth and balance trumped postseason experience.
With nary a senior on the roster, Castlewood played with poise and confidence to outlast 2011-12 Group A Division 1 runner-up Covington 52-47 in a girls basketball state quarterfinal Friday evening at Salem Civic Center.
Beset with foul trouble and outmanned on the backboards, the Cougars still had an opportunity when do-everything guard Sa'Mone Moore canned two fouls shots to forge a 47-47 deadlock with 2:01 left to play.
But the Blue Devils closed strong, nailing five of their last six foul shots in the final 48.1 seconds as the Cougars fired nothing but blanks in their last six possessions.
With that Castlewood (17-5) qualified for its first state semifinal since 1987 and only its second ever. The Blue Devils will play the winner of defending state champion East Rockingham and Charles City, a game that will be played today at James Madison University.
As for Covington (19-4), it was a disappointing finish particularly with only four girls scoring, two starters disqualified by fouls and a whopping 65-37 deficit on the backboards.
Even at full strength, Covington had an awful time with sophomore post Caitlyn Fleming, who tore up the Cougars inside with 22 points and 20 rebounds. It got worse when counterpart Leteashia Clarke collected her third personal with 4:13 left in the first half. She had spot duty after that and fouled out with 3:13 left in the game.
"[Fleming] is a load," Cougars coach Mark Pifer said. "With Leteashia out of the game, we really didn't have an answer for her."
It didn't look like much bothered the 5-foot-10 Fleming, the player of the year in the Cumberland District.
"Twenty-two and 20 in a state playoff game is huge for anybody," Blue Devils coach Barry Ruff said. "That's just exceptional. I felt like even when [Clarke] was guarding her, Caitlyn just outworked her."
Korey Purtee had only one field goal but was second in scoring for Castlewood with eight points after going 6-for-7 from the foul line in the second half, 6-for-8 overall, as the Devils sank 13 of 18 free throws. Purtee added 13 more rebounds to the Devils' haul.
Covington stayed in the game thanks in part to a 20-7 turnover disparity in its favor and determined play from a couple of its reliable offensive producers and two more players who rose to the occasion.
Sa'Mone Moore played all 32 minutes and scored 17 points including one of the team's three 3-pointers and a 6-for-8 night at the stripe.
Moore was direct in her analysis of the game's events.
"We had to come out strong and we really didn't," said Moore, one of 10 underclassmen who will be back next year. "There were nerves and expectations and a lot of pressure. We tried. Everybody tried their hardest."
Autumn Phillips, the team's outside threat and one of the three seniors, came through with the other two treys and 13 points. The surprise was defensive specialist Bailey Hall, who went 5-for-9 from the floor on the way to 13 points.
"Bailey had the offensive game of her career," Pifer said. "If we don't have her in this game, we're getting blown out."
Another unexpected contributor was undersized Briana Moore, who filled in in the post when first Clarke then Mary Woodson fouled out. The 5-7 Moore had four points and six rebounds in 11 minutes.
"She's a senior who has been through so much - three ACL tears," Pifer said. "She was playing out of position."
Nine Castlewood players participated and each of them had at least one rebound.
"These girls' biggest focus was not being happy just being here," Ruff said.
Crabtree 3 2-2 8, Purtee 1 6-8 8, Kennedy 1 0-0 3, Jessee 1 0-0 2, Fleming 9 4-7 22, Couch 0 0-0 0, Hubbard 1 0-0 2, Elam 0 0-0 0, Isaacs 3 1-1 7. Totals 19 13-18 52.
Phillips 5 1-2 13, S. Moore 5 6-8 17, B. Hall 5 5-9 13, Woodson 0 0-0 0, Clarke 0 0-1 0, M. Hall 0 0-0 0, B. Moore 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 10-17 47.
Castlewood 12 11 13 16-52
Covington 15 13 6 13-47
3-point goals - Castlewood 1 (Kennedy), Covington 3 (Phillips 2, S. Moore. Total fouls - Castlewood 13, Covington 16. Fouled out - Clarke, Woodson.
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