ABINGDON, Va. — After losing the final game of the regular season on Friday night, the Abingdon High School girls tallied a big win in the opening round of the Mountain 7 District Tournament, defeating John Battle, 71-39, on Monday.
“Looking at this game, the fastbreaks killed us,” Trojans head coach Jeff Adkins said. “We could not get back, we could not rebound well, we didn’t shoot very well, but we played a very good team. My hat’s off to Abingdon and the way they played, but we just got to be tougher than what we are.”
The Falcons held John Battle to single-digit scoring in each of the final three quarters after giving up 15 points in the first. Abingdon head coach Jimmy Brown pointed to the team’s heavy coverage of Trojans senior Callie Haderer as being key to the victory.
“I think tonight we really did a much better job of containing the point guard,” Brown said. “Of course [Callie] Haderer is a handful any night, so we rotated a few bodies on her, and we were at least able to make it tough for her to get some shots off.”
Senior Grace Hess led the Falcons with a game-high 17 points, while hitting a team-high three 3-point field goals. Sophomore Peyton Carter was second on the team with 15 points, while seniors Mattie Gibson and Taylor Gilbert added 10 points each. For Carter, the key to Monday’s win was the team’s ability to work together well and spread the ball around.
“Being unselfish and just passing the ball [was key],” Carter said. “We have this saying that everybody eats, and when everybody scores, we play well, we run the floor, control the pace and just play our game well.”
The Trojans relied on Haderer and sophomore Bethany Smith for the bulk of their scoring, as the two guards scored 14 points each and accounted for all four of the team’s 3-point field goals. Senior Sydney Bailey scored five points in her final game for the Trojans and tied for the team lead with three free throws. Adkins praised his two seniors for their contributions to the team, saying that they played a big part in helping the team rebuild.
“Callie’s done a super job for Battle basketball, and Sydney’s done a super job as well,” he said. “We’re still rebuilding, so who knows what the future holds. If all of them come back like we’re expecting next year, we could be pretty good. Not great, but pretty good, and that’s what you got to look for. We’re alright. We’re alright.”
The Falcons will be on the road for their next game, as they head to Wise County Central for a semifinal matchup against the Ridgeview Wolfpack on Wednesday night.
“We’ve had two big battles with them, and we’re looking forward to another one,” Brown said. “We’ve split with Ridgeview, so we know what kind of game that’ll be. It’ll be a war, and we’ll see what happens.”
Carter says she’s confident that the team will win on Wednesday and advance to the finals.
“I think we have a good chance,” she said. “We fell short against Ridgeview and Wise the last time we played them, and I think we can get them. Just play our game, like I said. Just play our game, and I think we can get it.”
Opening tip-off will be at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship match on Friday at 7:30 p.m.