School and Sports News for Jan. 27

The Lady Panthers’ 1-1 week

Frustration and celebration marked the past week of play for Rappahannock’s varsity girls basketball team. The Panthers initially lost on the road, but they prowled their way to victory at home.

Last Thursday (Jan. 20), Manassas Park humbled the Panthers with a 62-44 defeat. “Defense,” coach Robbie Thornhill said. “We played no defense in the last two games, but it’s defense that has kept us in all other games. We need to learn to trust our teammates; each player needs to do her job. Effort was lacking: effort to rebound, effort to play defense, effort to grab and dive for loose balls.”

It was, however, a night of balanced scoring for Rappahannock. Shelby Thornhill, Brittani Dodson and Joslyn Smith each tallied eight points. Lauren Light, Olivia Hayden-Pless and Lauren Settle brought six points apiece, while Paula Accioly earned two.

Monday night (Jan. 24), coach Thornhill led his girls in a home-court tug-of-war win over Eastern Mennonite, 37-33. “We only had six players this time. The first half was back and forth, back and forth. They had an extremely good inside post person, but Joslyn and Olivia really put it to her. Joslyn played a full 32-minute game. Intensity and effort wise, she played her best game of the season.

Hayden-Pless led the team, scoring 10. Joslyn netted nine points and 13 rebounds. “We out rebounded them, 33-27,” Thornhill said, “which was the key to the whole game. Then, in the second half, we got in foul trouble. Shelby fouled out with about six minutes left. Paula played the rest of the game with four fouls. If she had gone out, we would have only had four players.

“The whole key to the game came with about four minutes to go. Their coach decided to stall to try and run out the clock. I told the girls to relax and keep from fouling. With a minute and half, we put them on the foul line. They missed. Joslyn had a put back to get us up by one. Then Lauren and Olivia made their free throws at the end of the game. We out-scored them, 7-0, in the last four minutes of play.”

The Ladies’ Wednesday night home game against Clarke was canceled due to inclement weather. It will be rescheduled. Friday night (Jan. 28), the Panthers travel to George Mason.

Wrestlers ‘flat’ in 0-5 showing

Bull Run District Duals in Strasburg meant disappointment for Rappahanock wrestlers last Saturday (Jan. 22). The Panthers met familiar challengers: Manassas Park, George Mason, Clarke, Madison and Strasburg. The team walked away with a 0-5 record for the day.

“We had two great days of practice on Thursday and Friday,” coach Jamie Harris said. “I even let practice out early on Friday. Then we showed up in Strasburg, and we were just so flat.”

First, the Panthers met Manassas Park on the mats. Rappahannock athletes showed endurance. “When everyone else was done,” said coach Harris, “we were still wrestling 30 to 40 more minutes.”

CJ Sidrow was ill during the school week and, although he wrestled in the duals, his energy was not the usual Sidrow fire. Dylan Hitt, another of the Panther’s consistent winners, lost a pin in the first match. Harris recounted: “It was a bad ref call. His opponent came over afterward and confessed that he was pinned and was waiting for the ref to call it. It was a deflating call.”

For the day, only three wrestlers had a 3-2 record: Sidrow, Hitt and Tanyon Lee.

Harris remained convinced that the team got their wake-up call. “It was very disappointing to walk out of Strasburg 0-5 after a season where we’ve had so much success. Let’s just say, the young Panthers learned a very valuable lesson about coming to a match and not being mentally focused. We picked the wrong day not to bring our A game.”

Rappahannock wrestlers travel to the Monticello Duals on Saturday. The team is looking to revive their edge and take their new wisdom into the Bull Run Region B tournament Feb. 12.
— M.D.

Brian Shafran scores his 1,000th point Monday.

Wakefield’s Shafran scores 1,000th point

Wakefield Country Day School junior Brian Shafran of Viewtown scored his 1,000th point in the second quarter of the Owls’ 43-28 victory over Riverfront Christian Monday. Shafran finished with 11 points to lead the team in scoring.

Shafran has been a member of the varsity basketball team at WCDS since eighth grade, and entered the game needing four points to hit the 1,000-point mark. He made the significant shot driving down the right side of the lane.

Boys basketball head coach Rob Griffin said: “What’s remarkable about Brian is how much responsibility he has. He is our ball handler and ball distributor and even calls plays on the court. This recognition is for his scoring, but he should be known as much or more for his overall play. He is also an outstanding representative of a Wakefield student.”

“It is no small feat to reach the 1,000-point mark in a varsity basketball career,” said Mike Costello, Wakefield’s athletic director.

Shafran joins former Owl players Pat Dale (2003-2007), who scored 2,043 points in his career, and former teammate Andrew Smith (2006-2010), who scored 1,696 points, as the only three players in school history to reach this milestone.

— Jim Hart