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Fourth-quarter surge boosts No. 9 Highland Springs girls basketball over No. 7 Patrick Henry
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Fourth-quarter surge boosts No. 9 Highland Springs girls basketball over No. 7 Patrick Henry

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Highland Springs overcame a 13-point deficit in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to snatch a win away from Patrick Henry, 61-54, in a Tuesday night tussle at Patrick Henry.

The Springers’ leading scorer, Bri Shelton, sank four deep shots in the final frame to boost her team into the lead. Shelton finished with 15 points.

She’s one of five freshmen on the roster, which is effectively like having five eighth-graders as they didn’t compete last season, coach Franklin Harris said.

It’s a different look for a program that earned a spot in four state finals from 2013 to 2020 and was named Class 5 co-champion in 2020 after the pandemic shut down the state tournament.

But after Highland Springs started the season with losses against No. 8 Thomas Dale and No. 4 Monacan, the win shows the young Springers (7-3) are moving in the right direction.

“We’re trying to get all the youth on this team acclimated to this type of ballgame: coming from behind for a big win,” Harris said. “Because now they know, OK, we didn’t play well, we kind of went through the motions the first three quarters, but when we turned it on and played how we’re supposed to play, now we’re starting to get there.”

Highland Springs opened the game with a 6-point run and finished the first quarter with a narrow lead.

But the Patriots dominated on both sides of intermission, led by senior guard Logan Nuckols.

Nuckols, who topped 1,000 career points in December and is committed to play at Campbell, kept up her scoring prowess while driving an up-tempo style. Senior center Jessica Osuanah was the tallest player on the court at 6-4 and couldn’t be moved from her spot in the paint.

Junior guard Julia Dull joined Nuckols in being dangerous outside, powering the team’s rally.

Osuanah and Dull combined for 8 points at the start of the fourth quarter to build Patrick Henry’s largest lead, 48-35.

But the Springers proved to be dangerous when it really mattered.

Sophomore point guard Ah’Kiyah Pye drove her squad with speed and determination while charging the net, while versatile sophomore shooting guard Morgan Boyd was effective on both ends of the floor.

So while the team is inexperienced, Harris said he knows what he can get out of his players.

“I know what I’m going to get with Pye at the point, I know what I’m going to get with Boyd,” Harris said. “Bri Shelton can flat just shoot it. Anybody who plays us zone, you’re crazy, because she can just shoot.”

So while multiple Springers found the net as they pulled ahead, Sheldon’s third 3-pointer in the middle of an 18-2 run reclaimed the lead.

Patrick Henry was handed its second loss of the season, following a 76-29 defeat against No. 10 Glen Allen on Monday.

HS 13 10 12 26 — 61

PH 11 18 12 13 — 54

HS: Bri Shelton 15 pts., 5 3’s; Morgan Boyd 14 pts.; Ah’Kiyah Pye 12 pts.; Kayla Baxter 6 pts.; Samaya Brown 6 pts.; Samaria Jackson 5 pts.; Samara Faulk 3 pts.

PH: Logal Nuckols 21 pts., 4 3’s; Julia Dull 12 pts., 4 3’s; Jessica Osuanah 10 pts.; T’Niyah Baylor 4 pts.; Alicia Artis 3 pts.; Maddie Just 4 pts.; Hannah McGraw 1 pt.; MacKenzie Yates 1 pt.

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