SETH — Boasting what was then a 3-1 record in their opening road trip, the Van Junior-Senior Lady Bulldogs paid a visit to Sherman High to take on the Lady Tide (1-3) on Dec. 16.
The cross-county rivalry was not the only motivator for each squad, though games between Sherman and Van never lack intensity.
The Lady Tide came off a loss in their previous game against Chapmanville Regional, while Van looked to stretch their win streak to four games after triumphing over Ravenswood two days prior.
Van began the contest with 13 points over the first quarter. Senior Karlie LaFauci maintained her terrific early season form by scoring 7 of those points, though the away team failed to convert any of their 6 free throw attempts.
Junior Caraline Nelson and sophomore Hailea Skeens continued to be leaders on the Lady Tide team, each earning 3 points. Sophomore Zoey Steele was the only other scorer, with a single field goal to give Sherman 8 in all.
Sherman fought back in quarter two, more than doubling the results of the first by netting 17. Sophomore Kenzi Ferrell contributed 4 of those points, and Annika Roop scored on a three-point shot of her own. Roop played a key role in Sherman’s win over Buffalo only days before, where the freshman sank 9 points in threes off the bench.
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, were nearly shut down completely with only 6 points scored, and Sherman was in possession of a 25-19 lead at the end of the first half.
Momentum shifted heavily in the second half, with Van dropping a combined total of 20 points in the third quarter alone, while also holding Sherman to 9 points.
LaFauci once again showed her grit on the court by supplying 12 of the 20.
The final quarter was filled mostly by shots at the foul line, with Van taking 10 points over Sherman’s 4 to end the game 49-38 and bringing their record to 4-1.
Van coach Stephanie LaFauci says she is happy with the way the team is playing at the moment, though she adds that they still have work to accomplish as they head in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Sherman coach Terri Dawn Williams noted that the second half offensive troubles put away the game in Sherman’s favor, and that their defense did not match up to Van’s offense and gave away too many easy shots. Williams complimented Karlie LaFauci’s impressive game.
LaFauci led her team with 27 points, nearing her 1,000-point milestone with a combined total of 975 at Christmas. Sophomore Alyssa Sampson managed a whopping 14 rebounds over the game. Senior Abby Sampson played a strong game all-around, with 9 points, 4 steals, and 4 assists.
Caraline Nelson led Sherman with 13 points, followed closely behind by Hailea Skeens with 10.
Sherman (1-5) faces Calvary Baptist (6-2) at home at 6 p.m. on Jan. 2. Van (4-2) returns home against Lincoln County High School (4-0) at 6 p.m. on Jan. 8.