Wednesday, February 13, 2019

BASKETBALL: PH Girls Top Seed, Five County Teams In Playoffs

In Region 4B, the Patrick Henry girls earn the top seed and home court advantage throughout the Championship Tournament, which begins on Friday. The Patriot boys will be at Powhatan on Friday for an opening round game.

The Hanover girls and boys both will host a first round game on Monday, as the girls are the #7 seed and face #10 Caroline at 6pm. The boys' seeding and opponent for Monday is to be determined.

By virture of their eight-game winning streak to end the regular season, Atlee surges into the Region 5B boys playoffs, knocking out rival Lee-Davis, who finished ninth in the standings. The Raiders begin quarterfinal play at L.C. Bird Friday. The Atlee girls, despite a 14-8 record, did not make the postseason, outpointed in the ratings system by 11-10 Meadowbrook.

CLICK HERE for all the brackets, schedules, scores, ticket information and more at "Region Tournament Central" at our main network website!




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Arrington Sparks Yellow Jackets To Key Comeback Win

Down seven after a quarter, and by as many as twelve in the second period, Randolph-Macon women's basketball looked for a spark, and a way to slow down the Jayla Harris express of Virginia Wesleyan.

Slowly, quietly, the Yellow Jackets shaved into the Marlins lead, finding themselves down just three at halftime before taking a third period lead, then holding on for a 68-62 victory Tuesday night at Crenshaw Gymnasium to win their fifth straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) game, improving to 12-5 in conference play, 17-7 overall.

Becca Arrington began her best game of the season quietly, coming off the bench, but making the conscious decision to create offense, heading straight to the rim, drawing fouls, and making all six of her first half free throws. Add in a three-pointer with 21 seconds left in the half, and Randolph-Macon was only behind by one after having trailed 25-13 just nine minutes earlier.

"Just take advantage of every opportunity I've been given," Arrington said courtside following the win about her work, especially offensively, in the critical second period. "It's always nice to get to the free throw line, then see the ball go in the net. That always helps mentally, with confidence."

Jayla Harris, who led all scorers with 26 points for the Marlins (10-7 ODAC, 13-11), fittingly ended the first half with a jumper to extend the Virginia Wesleyan lead back to three at 35-32. But somehow, despite Harris' play, the Yellow Jackets had scratched and clawed their way back into contention.

The second half began as more of the same, the Yellow Jackets keeping the Marlins in their sights despite being behind. Head Coach Carroll LaHaye credited the defensive play of Jayla Wade for working, possession after possession, on Harris, trying to crack her, to wear her down.

"Our Jayla put enough pressure on her (Harris) throughout the game. (Harris) can singlehandedly control the game by herself," LaHaye noted. "By the time we got to the end when her team needed her, she didn't have it."

Harris put an end to a Randolph-Macon 17-3 run over the final 5:15 of the third period with a three-pointer at the top of the key to get Virginia Wesleyan back within five at 59-54 going to the fourth period. That run was sparked by a Charlotte Woods, a Michal Ross steal, and two free throws from senior Kelsey Wisner. Arrington nailed a triple with 4:09 left to give the Yellow Jackets their first lead since 7-5 early in the first period.

In the fourth, the Yellow Jackets went cold. Randolph-Macon missed their first nine shots. The Marlins, however, couldn't capitalize, as the Yellow Jackets relied on defensive prowess and, when Ross scored with 3:19 to go to finally get Randolph-Macon back on the scoreboard, it was to retake the lead at 61-59.

The teams traded misses, then the Yellow Jackets clinched the win at the free throw line. After struggling there early in the period, Elise Knobloch made one of two with just under a minute to play, then, after a Woods steal off Harris with 32 seconds left, Ross was fouled, made two free throws, then forced yet another steal, finding Woods at the rim for the hoop to seal the key conference victory.

For a team that lost four straight conference games at one point after the loss of All-American Kelly Williams to injury for the season, they've started to find their second identity of the season, and at just the right time. With the victory, Randolph-Macon goes up a half-game on Lynchburg and Washington and Lee, who both play Wednesday night. All three entered the final week of the season tied for third in the ODAC.

After losing to Bridgewater at home three weeks ago, LaHaye met with her team at practice and challenged them.

"It really boiled down to, who we are, what do we want to be, and are we going to be able do it?," LaHaye recalled telling her team. "Some people have kicked us out, written us off. Throughout the time we've been without Kelly, we've given hope to those teams, and hope wins. I said, hope wins all aspects of your life, and there's hope for us! Why don't we grab onto that?"

Tuesday was another example of Randolph-Macon grinding its way, finding its way, to grab another piece of hope with Senior Day coming Saturday against ODAC regular season champion Guilford, then the trip to Salem and the ODAC Championship Quarterfinals on Friday, February 22.

NOTES: Charlotte Woods registered her sixth double-double of 2018-19 with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and, most impressively, eight steals in the victory. Ross finished with eleven points on the night. After shooting 70 percent in the first quarter from the field, and 57.1 percent in the third, the Marlins went just 3 of 15 from the floor in the final period. Randolph-Macon ended the night 19 of 25 at the free throw line. Saturday's game with Guilford tips at 2pm. Live Twitter coverage available on @hanoversports.






Monday, February 11, 2019

In The Red Zone Tonight!

Listen live at 6pm as we're live at Sports Page Grille Ashland on 102.9 FM The Mater, 1430 AM, and CLICK HERE to listen online!

Our guests:

New Hanover Hawks Baseball Head Coach Tyler Kane

Randolph-Macon Women's Lacrosse Head Coach MK Geratowski




Big Weekend At Randolph-Macon

In case you missed it, this past weekend was incredibly successful for Randolph-Macon College athletics, and it all happened on the road.

We begin with men's basketball, who repeated as Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) regular season champions thanks to an 87-45 victory at Randolph on Saturday evening. As has been the case recently, a senior led the way at a critical time, as Darryl Williams sparked a 17-0 early second half run with ten of those points to help the Yellow Jackets move to 14-1 in ODAC play, 22-2 overall.

After starting the season 10-0, Randolph-Macon has now put together a nine-game winning streak and can match ten in a row with a victory Saturday in their regular season finale at Eastern Mennonite.

Buzz Anthony, who should get major ODAC Player Of The Year consideration, led the way Saturday with 21 points, while senior Grayson Midulla (pictured) sizzled with eleven points and ten big assists.


*****
Meanwhile, the women's basketball team erased the damage of a four-game ODAC losing streak by winning their fourth straight conference game, 61-52 at Roanoke Saturday thanks to a big finish on defense, holding the Maroons to just eight points in the fourth period. The win also clinched a bye in the ODAC Championship which begins next week.

Randolph-Macon (11-5 ODAC, 16-7) forced 21 Roanoke turnovers and got 27 points from the bench in the win. Michal Ross continued her strong play with 17 points in 28 minutes, while Kelsey Wisner scored eleven and Charlotte Ross, despite foul issues, had nine points and eight rebounds.

The victory keeps Randolph-Macon in a three-way tie for third place in the ODAC with Washington and Lee and Lynchburg. Guilford has clinched the regular season crown at 15-2, while Emory and Henry is second at 13-3. The Yellow Jackets host Shenandoah Tuesday, then host Guilford for Senior Day on Saturday.

*****
Men's lacrosse opened the 2019 season on a high note, winning 11-4 at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina Saturday afternoon. Hanover High School grad Colin DiSesa, a junior, led the Yellow Jackets with three goals and an assist, while eight other players each scored a goal in the victory. Randolph-Macon holds their home opener Saturday hosting Catholic at 12pm.

Critical to their success Saturday was domination in face-offs, winning 13 of 18 in the contest.

*****
Men's volleyball registered their first-ever Centennial Volleyball Conference victory on Friday night, sweeping Neumann 3-0, then heading to Cairn Saturday for a four-set victory to make it a 2-0 start in CVC play.

Local players shined as Lee Olenyik (Hanover) led the Yellow Jackets in kills in both matches with 17 on Friday and 16 on Saturday, while Connor Logan (Patrick Henry) led in digs with 12 and 19 recorded in the two wins respectively.

The first home match in program history is set for this Friday night at 7:30, hosting Immaculata. Saturday, the Yellow Jackets host Ramapo at 10am, then Bluefield College at 2pm. The matches with Immaculata and Ramapo are both CVC matches.

(File Photos)

Thursday, February 07, 2019

PERSPECTIVE: Three-For-All: Yellow Jackets Rout Rival, Finish Home Season Unbeaten

It wasn't as close as the 38-point final margin would indicate.

We're being serious.

Randolph-Macon began their version of "Rivalry Night" on a 17-4 run against an obviously outmanned, outgunned Hampden-Sydney, but did not cruise to a 91-53 victory Wednesday night at Crenshaw Gymnasium before a virtually packed house.

No, head coach Josh Merkel wouldn't allow cruising. For example, after watching his Yellow Jackets (13-1 ODAC, 21-2 overall), already up 47-25 at halftime, open the second half on a 19-0 run, he watched the Tigers score 22 points over the next nine minutes.

There's always room for improvement, and, on the sidelines, Merkel and his staff continued to quietly, confidently rally the troops, talk to players on the bench, the teaching and learning continual.

All the while, the Yellow Jackets rained three-pointers over the ragged Tiger defense, sixteen of them. In fact, half of Randolph-Macon's field goals came from beyond the arc, and, the final two made baskets from Ian Robertson were, fittingly, a pair of beyond the top of the key three-pointers to crack 90 before the horn.

Three years ago, the Yellow Jackets and Tigers split their regular season series. This year, it didn't seem as if they belonged to the same conference. The drop off faced by Hampden-Sydney over the past two seasons (now 1-12 in ODAC play) is, frankly, jaw dropping. At times Wednesday night, it seemed like the Yellow Jackets were varsity, the Tigers JV.

This is not hyperbole to create more fervor in a rivalry. It's a sterling truth for Randolph-Macon, who seem primed to not only avoid the mistakes of the past two Februarys, but have the goods to run into March, and a disappointing truth for Farmville fans. There's no way Tiger Nation will settle for this season's performance.

Buzz Anthony led Randolph-Macon with 17 points and 10 assists, Corey Bays added 15 points and 10 rebounds, two of four Yellow Jackets in double figures.

Coupled with Guilford's loss to Roanoke, Randolph-Macon now stands a win away from the 2018-19 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) regular season title, a crown they are defending. That's a fact long forgotten, though, due to the disappointment of their ODAC Championship quarterfinal loss that brought last season to a screeching halt in Salem.

With a 20-point win over a talented Roanoke team last Saturday, and now, the Tiger trampling, the Yellow Jackets look ready, and still, they have occasional stretches of play that give Merkel plenty of material for practice.

But that's a good thing. This team should have no interest in feeling any accomplishments anytime soon. For this team, if they remain confident, teachable, and know how to win on the inevitable night when the three-ball doesn't go, can take Randolph-Macon College on a long ride into the postseason.

NOTES:

--Randolph-Macon finishes their home schedule 10-0, their eighth unbeaten home season since Crenshaw Gymnasium opened for the 1964-65 season. Of the eight years, it is the least number of home games since that inaugural campaign. Merkel's scheduling of early season tournaments at neutral locations against tough competition was a deft move, and is now paying off dividends.

--The Yellow Jackets are ranked #7 in the nation in Division III, #1 in the first NCAA South Regional rankings which were released before the game on Wednesday.

--Randolph-Macon next goes to Randolph College for a Saturday game at 4:30pm, then finish the regular season a week from Saturday at always tough Eastern Mennonite. Those will be two good tests to prove the Yellow Jackets will consistently take teams that they should defeat. That's critical to any deep run this season.





Monday, February 04, 2019

Lee-Davis Boys, Atlee Girls In Race For Region 5B Playoffs, Atlee Boys Close

It's the power points that count. Just as in football, ratings determine who is in and who is out in Region 5B boys and girls basketball. The latest standings are below, based on games played through February 2, 2019.

The 2019 Region 5B Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments will begin on Friday, February 15th at the sites of the top four girls seeds. There will be girls/boys doubleheaders at each of the four locations.

***************

BOYS:

1) Varina (18-1, 47.895)
2) L.C. Bird (16-3, 45.158)
3) Henrico (17-3, 43.750)
4) Prince George (12-7, 38.895)
5) Highland Springs (12-5, 38.412)
6) Douglas Freeman (15-6, 37.905)
7) Lee-Davis (12-7, 37.263)
8) Matoaca (12-7, 36.895)
----------
9) Atlee (9-9, 36.389)
10) Meadowbrook (10-7, 36.353)
11) Mills Godwin (10-10, 35.950)
12) Glen Allen (7-13, 31.400)
13) Deep Run (7-12, 31.316)
14) J.R. Tucker (6-13, 29.947)
15) Hermitage (5-12, 28.824)


GIRLS:

1) Highland Springs (17-3, 47.700)
2) Mills Godwin (17-2, 44.474)
3) L.C. Bird (15-4, 43.579)
4) Matoaca (15-4, 40.368)
5) Glen Allen (14-6, 39.900)
6) J.R. Tucker (14-5, 38.474)
7) Varina (13-6, 38.105)
8) Atlee (12-7, 37.684)
----------
9) Meadowbrook (8-10, 36.778)
10) Deep Run (9-10, 33.368)
11) Prince George (6-11, 31.118)
12) Lee-Davis (4-15, 28.053)
13) Henrico (3-15, 27.389)
14) Hermitage (3-15, 26.444)
15) Douglas Freeman (1-17, 25.722)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Yellow Jackets Return To Top 10 In Men's Hoops

For the first time since their historic 25-game winning streak in the 2014-15 season, the Randolph-Macon men's basketball team returns to the Top 10 in Division III, rising three spots to #9 in the latest D3Hoops.com Top 25 Poll.

A home win over Virginia Wesleyan Wednesday and a big 70-64 win at then #14 Lynchburg on Saturday moved the Yellow Jackets up three positions.

This week, Randolph-Macon will travel to Shenandoah Wednesday, then host Roanoke Saturday for Senior Day, Alumni Day, and Matt Davis Foundation Day. Roanoke is currently tied for fourth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) with Virginia Wesleyan at 7-4.

Randolph-Macon leads the ODAC with a 10-1 record. They are 18-2 overall. Guilford stands second at 9-2, followed by Lynchburg at 8-3. (File Photo)



Saturday, January 26, 2019

In The Red Zone Monday: Ray Hedrick

We're excited to talk baseball, and more, with Randolph-Macon head baseball coach Ray Hedrick live this Monday night at 6pm on 102.9 The Mater on "In The Red Zone"!

We'll be live at SportsPage Grille Ashland, so come out for dinner and enjoy the show! If you can't make it out live, listen on the radio, or online by clicking HERE, or on the TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall"!

Live, local sports talk, every Monday night on 102.9 The Mater!