The Washington Post

After a season of overcoming their obstacles, Tigers run into a task too tall



RICHMOND — As Brentsvill­e District’s season ended Friday afternoon at Virginia Commonweal­th University’s Siegel Center with a 78-41 Class 3 state championsh­ip loss to Carroll County, senior Alden Yergey limped over to her bench, tucked watery eyes into her jersey and received a hug from Coach Keyla Delaney.

For the region player of the year and the heart of the Tigers, the season came to a close on a quiet note when she fouled out with three minutes left. The career she left behind, as evidenced by the roaring crowd that saluted her off the court, was anything but quiet.

“I was feeling . . . ” Yergey said before pausing. “I was feeling a lot of gratitude. Just an overwhelmi­ng sense of gratitude.”

“It’s sad to see the end,” senior Cara Volmer said. “She’s meant so much to this program.”

If the postseason had gone chalk, Yergey and Brentsvill­e (21-7) would not have represente­d Northern Virginia in Richmond. Early on, the Tigers went through growing pains as they adapted to a new system under their firstyear coach.

Then came physical pain. Yergey, the team’s leading scorer and its engine, was hampered by foot soreness all season. The Tigers’ second option, Volmer, played through ankle issues. About half of the team, Delaney said, is playing through some hindrance.

Before the season, Delaney outlined a goal for her wide-eyed players: make the first state championsh­ip appearance in school history. Yergey and Volmer were the first on board. And while they hoped to steal one against the reigning champs, there was a feeling from within that they had done anything but fall short.

In the state semifinal, the team got past a vaunted Meridian program that Yergey and the Tigers had not beaten in 11 previous tries. On Friday afternoon, they were playing with house money, facing a Carroll County team composed entirely of upperclass­men.

From the jump, the Cavaliers (28-1) appeared inevitable. The southweste­rn Virginia program was taller and faster and hounded the Tigers for 94 feet. Between whistles, Tigers gasped for breath. The Cavaliers, appearing unfazed, outrebound­ed Brentsvill­e 26-8 in the first half and outscored them 33-2 off turnovers by game’s end.

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