VIRGINIA — The Virginia girls’ basketball team used a strong defensive intensity throughout to open up their Section 7AA playoff run with a 57-20 win over Greenway Wednesday night.
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils gave up just six points to the fifth-seeded Raiders in the opening half as they led 33-6 at the break.
The strong defense complemented the offense early on as Virginia opened the contest up on an 18-0 run that put things squarely in their favor.
Kaylee Iverson got things started for the Devils on a shot from the elbow on an inbounds play to make it 2-0. Teammate Halee Zorman knocked down a three to bump it up to 5-0.
Coming off the bench, Anna Fink knocked down a long two three minutes into the contest and then had a nice looking layup a possession later to make it 9-0. She’d add two more on a pair of free throws after taking a foul.
Lexiss Trygg got in on the action for the Blue Devils with a steal and an ensuing layup on the other end of the court. Fink continued to help keep the Raiders off the scoreboard with a nice defensive tip play that stopped Greenway’s transition offense.
Virginia continued to stretch the lead with a three from Rian Aune and Trygg hit a short jumper to make it 18-0. The scoring streak came to an end with Greenway’s Baylie Jo Norris knocking down a bucket in traffic but the Devils continued to stretch things out as Trygg added eight more first half points to aid her team to the 33-6 halftime score.
The second half was markedly slower than the first as the Devils weren’t able to get much going until they took a timeout at the 11:26 mark. Still, the defense propped them up as they held the 38-11 lead as coach Spencer Aune called the timeout.
Following that short break, Virginia scored 11 straight with Rian Aune knocking down two free throws, Kelsey Squires putting down a three and Iverson scoring again from the elbow. Trygg kept things moving with a putback and Iverson scored once again with a bucket in the paint to make it 49-11.
Fink nailed a pair of back-to-back three pointers late as Virginia was able to cruise through the final minutes to grab the 57-20 win.
“We had great defensive intensity from start to finish,” said coach Aune after the game. “That’s what it takes comes playoff time. I’m very proud of the way we came out. We told the girls to just be themselves and play defense and they did an excellent job of that.”
Trygg led the Blue Devils in scoring with 17 points. Fink finished with 13. On Fink’s play, offensively and defensively, Aune said that’s exactly what he needs out of the first player that comes off the bench.
“She’s an awesome spark for us when she comes off the bench like that. She comes in and gives us some more juice on offense and defense. She was flying around tonight and making plays for us. That’s what we want out of all of our girls. We’re comfortable with everyone that we sub into the game and we want all 16 girls on the roster to be ready to contribute.”
The Devils will now take on the top-seeded Proctor Rails in the 7AA quarterfinals. This is the third year in a row that the two teams will meet in the second round. Aune says his team has work to do, but he’s pleased with the effort his team has given so far in the playoffs.
“It’s big to go into the next game with a win like this. Proctor had a bye this round so they haven’t had a playoff game yet. We all know how playoffs are and there’s always jitters around that first playoff game. Hopefully we’ve got our jitters out of the way.
“But we have work to do and we have to get ready for an extremely good Proctor team over the next two days. We’re excited to play them again and I know our girls will be ready to go.”
Virginia and Proctor will do battle on Saturday at Hermantown High School. That game is set to start at 12:30 p.m.
GHS 6 14 — 20
VHS 33 24 — 57
Greenway: Baylie Jo Norris 5, Nicholle Ramirez 2, Hailey Pederson 2, Morgan Walsh 7, Chloe Hansen 1, Jadin Saville 2; Three pointers: Norris 1, Walsh 1; Free throws: 8-13; Total fouls: 20; Fouled out: Ramirez.
Virginia: Anna Fink 13, Rian Aune 7, Halee Zorman 3, Lexiss Trygg 17, Kaylee Iverson 6, Kelsey Squires 6, Erin Haerer 2, Aleksia Tollefson 2, Janie Potts 1; Three pointers: Fink 2, Aune 1, Zorman 1, Squires 2; Free throws: 11-20; Total fouls: 15; Fouled out: none.