Bruins’ hearts broken
Special to the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger
ASHLAND Forest Park coach Chrissy Kelly may not realize it, but her Bruins played their hearts out.
Their hearts may also have been broken after Monica Wright’s apparent game-winning shot was ruled after the buzzer leaving them one point shy of Atlee, 46-45, in the Group AAA state tournament quarterfinals.
It may have been a time for tears, but not one for bitterness.
Kelly, however, was critical of her Forest Park girls. As far as she was concerned, the Bruins didn’t do what she told them to do, so they lost.
Atlee “obviously listened to their coach, and we didn’t,” she said. The Bruins (24-4) jumped to a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter, and were in control of the game, but as the Raiders fought back, Kelly asked for a more aggressive defense.
“I told them to not give up the three,” said Kelly, but a 3-point goal by Atlee’s Lindsey Henley cut Forest Park’s lead to one point, then a 3-pointer by Jessica Hutt put the Raiders (28-0) ahead with 12.5 seconds left in the game.
“I told them to foul,” Kelly said, “and they don’t foul.” The only time a Raider Henley made it to the foul line in the fourth quarter, however, she converted both free throws.
“It was our game to lose,” said Kelly, “and we gave it away.”
Or, maybe, it was that Atlee didn’t give up.
Hutt certainly didn’t.
“I was cold the whole game,” Hutt said, before mentioning something about the broad side of a barn. But when the game was on the line, she drained the 3-pointer no rim, no bounce, just a swish.
“I don’t know what it was about that shot,” Hutt said. “But whatever it was, was.”
The Raiders elation was short-lived, however, when the referees stopped play to add six seconds to the clock to give the Bruins 12.5 seconds to come back.
They almost did.
Two shots bounced off the rim before Wright’s shot got the Bruins’ bench and fans cheering. But the moment ended in confusion and shock as the referee ran toward the scoring table yelling, “No shot! No shot!”
“It was just our night,” said Atlee coach Curt Kassab. “Both teams were playing with such intensity.
“They played a great game,” Kassab said of the Bruins. “They’re a great team. We’re mirror images of each other.”
DeCarol Davis led Forest Park with 12 points. Courtney Portell scored 11 for the Bruins.
Narissa Suber led Atlee with 12 points, followed by Michele Cosel with 11 points and Henley with 10.
Atlee will face Hampton, a 47-25 winner over Lake Braddock in the state semifinals Friday at Liberty University in Lynchburg.
David Lawrence is a correspondent for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.