The Lady Monarchs are no stranger to making runs into the postseason. In fact, every year since 2008, when they won the Central District tournament, they have appeared in the final. This year their opponent would be Prince George, and Meadowbrook jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Royals 58-40 in the championship game Friday night.
“We jumped on them, they came out flat,” said Meadowbrook head coach Danny Connor. “They just didn’t respond until it was too late.”
The Monarchs were led by a balanced attack and a red-hot first half from Ashley Pegram, who left the game early in the third with severe leg cramps. In that playing time, Pegram scored 16 points, grabbed ten rebounds and blocked four shots.
“Ashley came out completely on fire tonight,” said Connor. “She’s more of a leader now- the team definitely feeds off of her.”
The team matched early intensity as Prince George only mustered 10 points in the first half of the game. A big part of stopping Prince George this season is stopping guard Ariel Stephenson, and despite finishing with 17 points, she was held to just four points in the first half. The Royals trailed by 29 at the half and despite a couple of small second half runs, would fall short.
Meadowbrook was led in scoring by Shamika Finch with 19 points- the sophomore also grabbed nine rebounds. Junior Sycoya Dorsey finished with 15 points and eight boards.
After a thus far accomplished season the Monarchs turn to regionals. Last year, Meadowbrook fell in the second round of the regionals to Cosby, who went on to win the Central Region by defeating Thomas Dale. They are looking to advance further this year.
“We want to improve on last year, we’re coming together as a team,” said Pegram in an interview earlier this year. “We want to get past that second round of regionals- and who knows what could happen after that.”
Led by the Central District player of the year in Pegram, the team certainly gelled in the second half, resulting in 19 wins this season and a 15-1 record in the central district. Also, for the first time in four years, the central district didn’t have to deal with now Duke guard, Ka’lia Johnson. Johnson and Thomas Dale defeated Meadowbrook in the district finals for three straight seasons.
Other postseason awards were as follows: Central District first team honors went to Meadowbrook’s Brittany Nicholson and Pegram. Central District second team honors went to Megan Knickerbocker and Kazhana Joyce of Thomas Dale. Nicholson and Knickerbocker both also received all-academic honors and Meadowbrook’s Connor was named coach of the year on the girl’s side.
In other central district results, The Lady Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention with a 73-45 loss in the first round. Thomas Dale girls fell in the semi-finals to Prince George, 55-37. On the boys side of the central district, Matoaca fell in first round action to Meadowbrook, 76-65. Meadowbrook then fell to Hopewell by a count of 58-51 in the semi-finals and Thomas Dale fell in the semi-finals to Petersburg but played a great game losing by just five points, 72-67. Freshman Andrien White, who has gotten significant playing time all season has played a large role in the Knights success this season. Petersburg won the boy’s central district tournament with a 75-70 win over Hopewell.
Meadowbrook started with regionals Tuesday with a game at home. Due to deadline, results cannot be published. For all results of upcoming games, statistics and news follow @josh_mathewsVN on twitter.
For continued coverage of regional and state basketball action, continue to check out the Village News.