Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Injured Doyley leads Rockville to win over Poolesville

Suffering from leg cramps, senior guard scores 19 points, helps hand Falcons first loss 40-39

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When Rockville girls basketball senior guard Shaday Doyley was carried off the court in tears after going down with leg cramps in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s home game against Poolesville it seemed unimaginable she’d be able to return to the hardwood. But, she did and helped lead the Rams back to a come-from-behind, 40-39 victory.

On the bench in the fourth, Doyley watched her team go down by four points after recovering from an early 14-point deficit, she knew what she had to do.

Doyley gingerly stood up and hobbled back onto the court. Within seconds she grabbed a steal, one of her team-high seven, and ignited a 13-6 run to close out Thursday’s first win over previously unbeaten Poolesville in more than six years.

‘‘I mean, that is some kind of senior leadership,” Rockville coach Mark Crichton said. ‘‘She was in tears on the bench. She’s saying, ‘No, no, I can’t go in.’ And then the next thing I know she’s up and over at the scorer’s table ready to go in. She was a little banged up but sucked it up and went back in. It was an amazing win for us.”

Rockville (3-3, 3-1 in the county’s 3A⁄2A⁄1A West Division) started slowly. The Rams trailed 20-6 early in the second quarter. But, Doyley, who finished with a game-high 19 points, combined with sophomore Zamica Gage, who scored 11 points off the bench, for 13 points in the Rams’ 17-8 second-quarter run. Doyley netted a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer to put Rockville up 23-22 at halftime.

In the past a 14-point hole might’ve been enough to deter the Rams. But for the first time in three years, they’re an experienced bunch. With seven seniors, most of who have been on varsity together for three years now, they’ve finally settled into their respective roles.

They’ve got leadership with Doyley, who led the team with 19 points and seven steals, and floor general, senior guard Raven Gilmer (4 points). And they know now what to do in various game situations; they’re more comfortable with the ball in their hands. And it was evident in the way they maintained their composure late Thursday.

‘‘This was a great game for us,” Mark Crichton said. ‘‘We were down, then we were up, down then up, this just shows the girls that you can be down by 14 points and come back. And now we’ll be able to refer back to this game if we’re in this situation again.”

Poolesville (6-1, 1-1 in the 3A⁄2A⁄1A West), led by senior guards Jess Brown (17 points) and Rachel Stream (11 points) seemed to have Thursday’s game under control. But some uncharacteristic errors plagued the Falcons — they totaled 24 turnovers, double their season average of 12.

Poolesville thrives off speed and grit and they got in some foul trouble late, which also hindered them Thursday. Frustration got to them and they were unable to recover.

Though the Falcons were disappointed in the loss, they’re not dwelling on it. Rather they plan on using it as motivation.

‘‘The good thing for the girls is now they see what they need to do, what they need to clean up,” Poolesville coach Randy Berger said. ‘‘We know we still haven’t played a perfect game. And the biggest thing is, somehow, we’ve got to find a way to win games when we’ve not brought our best effort. We left a lot out on the court, as far as opportunities, Thursday. But credit to Rockville. They made the plays and we didn’t.”

Rockville could’ve easily folded late Thursday. After fighting back in the first they trailed 36-30 late in the fourth. But Crichton constantly preaches the importance of effort. Doyley’s effort Thursday proves if you keep working hard, good things can happen. And it was an example the Rams followed.

‘‘There have been countless times in games where we’ve needed a bucket, whether it was to stop the bleeding or tie the game or what, but in the past we haven’t capitalized on our opportunities,” Crichton said. ‘‘I was watching the game film and there were about six times we really needed a bucket and about five of those times Shaday just made something happen.”