Former Grundy High School standout and current starting forward for the Wise Central Lady Warriors Madison Looney took the floor on Saturday at Virginia Commonwealth’s Siegal Center in search for a Virginia High School League Class 2 girls basketball state championship.
Looney averaged 10.1 points and 9.5 rebounds this season after transferring to defending Class 2 state champion Wise Central from Grundy prior to the start of basketball season. She was instrumental in the Lady Warriors’ 51-50 win over rival Gate City in the Bearcat Den at Virginia High in Bristol last Monday night in the Class 2 semifinals, scoring nine points in the win.
“Last night was such an amazing experience,” Looney said last Tuesday. “One of the most intense games I’ve ever played in from start to finish. Every basket and every rebound was so crucial. We had played them five times already, but the only one that mattered was this one, and when the buzzer sounded, I was so relieved. I’m looking forward to playing Saturday. It’s a dream come true for me.”
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Her biggest contribution on the night was her ability to beat the Lady Blue Devils press with her excellent ballhandling skills, which were vital for the Lady Warriors’ success.
Sophomore standout Emmah McAmis, averaging 25 points, five rebounds and four assists this year, was battling an ankle injury throughout the game. McAmis still finished with a game-high 18 points for the Lady Warriors.
“Madison has really come on for us the last few games,” Wise Central coach Robin Dotson said. “She played well last night, having one of her better defensive games with four deflections, three steals and three blocks. She was also 7 of 8 from the free throw line, going 4 for 4 in the crucial fourth quarter.
“She has been a nice addition to our team. It has not been an easy road for our team, but we have overcome some obstacles and some tough opponents to earn our place in the state title game. Last night’s game could have gone either way in the end, but we made a couple of plays to win it.”
It was Wise and Gate City’s sixth meeting of the year, with the Lady Warriors winning the series 4-2.
The big win Monday night earned Looney and Wise Central a trip to face Clarke County in the Class 2 state title game at 4:30 on Saturday.
Wise Central 51, Gate City 50
WISE COUNTY CENTRAL (51) — Mullins 5, Jordan 12, Brickey 7, Sturgill 0, Looney 9, McAmis 18, Villanueva 0.
GATE CITY (50) — Gibson 10, J. Carrico 10, Bays 10, Steele 13, Ervin 0, Davidson 4, Baker 0, Lane 3.
Wise Central 12 13 12 14—51
Gate City 12 10 12 16—50
3-point goals — Wise Central 4 (Jordan 2, Mullins 1, Brickey 1), Gate City 3 (Gibson 2, Lane 1).