She's on fire: Jesse Story hits seven treys, Trojans advance to championship game

Thursday's game was a tale of two halfs and a tale of two Storys.

Bandys' Jesse Story connected on seven 3-pointers and her sister, Madi, came up with some crucial plays on defense in the second half, as the Lady Trojans earned a CVAC semifinal win against East Burke on Thursday.

Five of Jesse's 3-pointers came in the opening half of play.

"Jesse has been shooting the ball well," said Bandys coach Beth Queen. "She wanted the ball and she was ready for it. As well as she is shooting it now, the more we can get the ball in her hands, the better off we will be as a team."

While Jesse attacked from the outside, East Burke (18-8) attacked on the the inside. Post players Emily Green and Sydney Haas battled against the man-to-man defense of Bandys and were successful.

They combined to score 18 of the Lady Cavaliers' 25 points in the first half. All of those points were in the paint.

East Burke cut what was a six-point second quarter lead into a tie ball game at 19-19, after a lay up from Alicia Byrd, hook shot from Green and and a Bandys' turnover.

Unshaken by the sudden tie, the Lady Trojans (23-3) scored 11 straight points, including another 3-pointer from Jesse Story. The Lady Trojans led 30-25 at halftime.

"When I start hitting 3-pointers, I want the ball more," Jesse said. "I become more confident in how I shoot."

Sensing the inside presence from East Burke, coach Beth Queen made some adjustments at the break.

"We didn't play much man-to-man in the second half," Queen said. "My whole halftime speech to my team was about the help-side defense. We just had to make the change, go to the zone defense, guard their 3-pointers the best we could, and see what happens. Luckily for us, it worked out tonight."

East Burke tried to capitalize on the newly initiated zone defense by Bandys. A lay up and 3-pointer by the Lady Cavaliers' Lauren Arney tied the game at 32-32 near the mid-point of the third.

The Trojans had an answer in the form of Madi Story. She sparked her team back into the lead was strong defense. She grabbed three steals that led to three key baskets for Bandys and scored five points in the third quarter. The Trojans had regained the lead, 39-33, at the end of the third.

"I just needed to step up and make something happen," Madi said.

Coach Queen admitted that Madi's defense gave her team a push in the game.

"Madi was a catalyst" Queen said. "She ended up with five steals. Within that span in the game, she ended up with about three. You could see it in her eyes too. She wanted to get to that basket. I think when she penetrated in the first half, she went too far in. I think she made smarter decisions in the second half."

The Lady Trojans pulled away early in the fourth quarter, going on a 10-2 run, as Jesse Story connected on two early 3-pointers.

Jesse finished with a game-high 26 points, including 7-for-8 from the 3-point line. Madi Story added 19 points for Bandys.

Green led East Burke with 17 points. Haas and Arney scored eight points each.

Bandys will play Newton-Conover (21-2) in the championship game on Friday in a rematch of last year's title game. The Lady Red Devils were victorious over the Lady Trojans, 50-34, in that game.

"We played a hard 32 minutes tonight" Queen said. "Obviously, my biggest concern tomorrow is our legs and our energy. Coming off an emotional win, being able to start the game on an even kiel is hard to do. We will do our best. We will talk to the kids, come out tomorrow and try to come out with a victory."