BASSETT — The Gretna High School girls basketball team saw its season end on Thursday in a familiar place: the Region 2C semifinals.
Against Floyd County, the Hawks fought back from an early deficit and battled throughout the third quarter, but the Buffaloes used a dominating fourth quarter to emerge with an 81-67 win at Bassett High School.
The win sends Floyd County into the Region 2C Tournament championship game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Averett University’s Grant Center and, beyond that, the state tournament.
The Hawks, who won the Dogwood District for the second season in a row, defeated Patrick County on Tuesday to make it to the semifinal round, but that was as far as they would go.
Head coach Herbert Daniel recalled past years, which saw his team lose to Floyd County by one, to Martinsville by four or five and to Chatham — all in the semifinals.
“This is our fifth year right here,” he said. “We just haven’t been able to get over the hump.”
Gretna led by two points entering the final quarter, and the Hawks led 60-56 before the Buffaloes pieced together a 25-7 run to close the game and claim the win.
The loss was not because of a lack of effort, though.
Hawks junior Ty’Nasia Witcher hit seven 3-pointers in the contest and finished with a game-high 37 points.
Five players overall scored in double figures during the game, but Witcher—who enjoyed her first full varsity season after consecutive ACL injuries on both knees robbed her of her first two years—stole the show.
She averaged more than 22 points this season, and in her final four games, she scored 45 against Appomattox County, 26 against Chatham, 24 against Patrick County and finally 37 against Floyd County.
“I’m gonna see if I can get her as regional player of the year,” Daniel said. “Most kids that have one ACL (injury) generally come back at half of what they were, and to have to ACLs back-to-back, and now she’s leading the area in scoring, not just my team … I am extremely impressed. She is the most complete basketball player in this area, hands down.”
Sophomore Ashiah Glass added 12 points for Gretna, junior Makeyla Mease scored nine, senior Madison Walker tallied eight and senior Sonia Mora-Gil added one to complete the Hawks’ scoring.
Alexis Kiser led the Buffaloes with 26 points, aided by five 3-pointers. Shaelee Slaughter backed her up with 18 points of her own, including four 3-pointers. Aimee Whitlow added 17 points, Brookelyn Hall and Peyton Grim scored eight points apiece and Riley Spangler and Bailey Underwood each scored two.
Gretna will lose Walker, Mora-Gil and a third senior, Natavyia Clark, from this year’s team that finished 19-6 overall, but Daniel is excited about the potential for next year’s team—a group spearheaded by Witcher, Glass and Mease, the latter of whom also averaged around 19 points per game this year.
“The seniors, I was very proud of how hard they played,” Daniel said. “The ones that are coming back, I told them, ‘You’ve got to use this as fire.’ We’ve gotta want it more. We’ve got to want it more in the summer, we’ve gotta want it more in the spring, we’ve got to want it more in the fall and when this time gets here, we can be where we need to be.”