Luray girls trending up with regional bid on the line

Update: Luray won at Altavista last Wednesday, 46-30, earning a spot in both the Conference 44 championship round as well as the Region 1A East tournament. The Bulldogs lost to Riverheads in the conference championship game; they'll play Surry County in the opening round of the regional tournament on Wednesday evening.

The Bulldogs will compete for a bid to the regional tournament after a blowout win over visiting William Campbell last Friday.

Luray (9-14) blitzed a Campbell team with a short bench that got in foul trouble early, taking a 25-2 lead after the first quarter of play. The Bulldogs were aggressive, taking the ball into the lane on most possessions and finishing on quality looks at the rim. At times, the Bulldogs were sloppy, but it mattered very little in a 64-19 blowout.

“I just told them that I’m happy for them. I mean that. They’ve dealt with a lot,” said head coach Joe Lucas. “Even these small successes are valuable.”

Last Friday, part of the success was getting valuable practice time in a postseason game.

“We ran the second half like it was a practice,” Lucas said. “Our weakness all year has been getting shots in the half court, so we wanted to pull it out [and push the pace].”

Now, Luray can earn a seed in the regional tournament with a win at Altavista on Wednesday night. The Colonels are the No. 2 seed in the Conference 44 girls’ tournament, so Luray will need to bring its best game if they want to advance its season past Wednesday.

“They’re sort of similar to what we are — they struggle to score the basketball,” Lucas said. “They play a lot of zone... they like to slow it down.”

Lucas will counter by trying to speed the game up and generate more offense in transition, similar to the style his team got to practice last week.

A key element for Luray will be the return of Elise Beahm, who was sidelined for the conference tournament opener with a head injury. She was cleared to play prior to the Campbell game, but was held out for cautionary reasons.

According to Lucas, she’ll likely be ready to go for Luray’s win-or-go-home game with Altavista.

Beahm has typically played in a post position alongside senior Cassie Weakley. But with Kristen Weaver’s mid-season return to the lineup, Beahm has been used more flexibly, sliding into the 3-position in Luray’s bigger lineup.

Beahm may find herself back in a traditional forward role for Wednesday’s game, though, as Lucas says he wants to speed the game up. That could mean a smaller lineup for Luray to facilitate a quick tempo.

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