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Staunton River wins Knights Winter Classic with victory over Floyd County | High school


By Christian Moody Special at the Roanoke Times

The handshakes started with nearly a minute left in Staunton River’s 62-41 win over Floyd County in the Knights Winter Classic women’s basketball tournament final at Cave Spring on Wednesday.

Senior Golden Eagles Jeni Levine dribbled the last 45 seconds of the clock while receiving congratulations and best wishes from the Floyd County players on the field. The other players also exchanged hugs and daps over time. At this point, the result was academic.

Staunton River (8-0) used a stifling defense and maximum effort on the boards to gradually move away from the Buffaloes.

Tied at 10 early in the second period, the Golden Eagles took the lead on a free throw from Cali Levine. She was fouled while attempting a stickback on an offensive rebound. Those rebounds would become a theme of the game as neither team shot very well. Staunton River had 20 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second chance points. Floyd County scored four points on 13 offensive boards.

Just seconds after Cali Levine gave the Eagles the lead, his twin sister Jeni added three more points on a midfield steal, followed by one and one on the layup. Jeni Levine has scored three lay-ups in transition after steals.

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“We had our trap set and I knew they had to go to the weak side,” said the senior point guard.

Despite a 29-21 halftime lead, the Eagles didn’t think they were playing hard enough.

“This first half we were letting them collect any loose balls that we weren’t playing in our game,” said Jeni Levine, who led her team with 17 points. “We let them control our pace. We knew that in the second half we had to attack everything.

Head coach Kim Jones agreed.

“At halftime we said we weren’t playing to the best of our ability,” Jones said. “We have to activate it in the third quarter. We have been talking all year about the third quarter which is one of the most important because it has always been a weakness for us.

The statement actually came in the final four minutes of the third, triggered by Jeni Levine’s third knock and score. On Floyd County’s next possession, Jeni Levine recovered a defensive rebound and fed Cali Levine for another transition bucket. Cali then sank a pair of 3s around a hook shot from Maddie Hamren and a 10ft jumper from Jeni Levine.

When Cali Levine sent a backdoor pass to the Hamren for a layup with two seconds left in the quarter, the Eagles were up 23 points. Cali Levine and Hamren each finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Jones has said the key to defending Staunton River is to put pressure on point guard Destiny Harman. The strategy is good, but Harman was still the driving force behind the Buffaloes (3-3), scoring 24 points, including 11 on the board and nine from beyond the arc.

Kiley Hylton had six points and 10 boards.

For the game, Staunton River had a 41-30 rebound advantage.

“The rebound is an area of ​​focus for us,” said Floyd County coach Karen Radford. “We’re not putting in a full set of good rebounds. I was proud of the way the girls started. I think [Staunton River] just had a better game than us in terms of rebound and shot percentage. We never gave up and played with a lot of heart.