With just one regular-season game remaining, the VJHS eighth-grade girls basketball team has to be feeling upbeat as the postseaon quickly approaches.
Especially after a 31-9 victory at Ramsey Monday night.
The Lady Junior Vandals (8-8) did several things well in moving back to the .500 mark.
In the first half, Vandalia's passing stood out, as the Lady Junior Vandals had assists on seven of their 10 baskets.
In the second half, the Lady Vandals dominated the boards, outrebounding Ramsey 21-11.
And throughout the game, Vandalia played its usual stifling pressure defense, finishing with 15 steals.
The Lady Junior Vandals all but sealed the deal by jumping out to a 13-4 first-quarter lead.
A Haley Wollerman 3-pointer off an assist from Abby Hickerson highlighted the period. Amber Bruno added a fast-break layup and a jumper in the opening frame. She also had two assists on passes to the post, one setting up Hickerson and the other setting up Hannah Edwards for the first two points of the contest.
Alex Henna capped the quarter with a nifty baseline drive to the basket for two, and she was just getting warmed up. Henna would go on to score six of Vandalia's 10 second-quarter points, helping Vandalia take a commanding 23-6 lead into halftime.
The Lady Junior Vandals crushed any hopes of a Ramsey comeback by opening up the third quarter with a quick 6-0 spurt.
Bruno got things going with an assist to Hickerson. Hickerson then came up with a steal, and Wollerman found Edwards in transition for a layup. Bruno then hit Wollerman for a fast-break basket off a Edwards steal.
12 rebounds to lead her team to a 29-17 win over Ramsey.
Whightsil broke open a sloppy stalemate early on, as her personal 7-2 run in the second quarter gave Vandalia a lead it would not relinquish.
She then stretched the Junior Vandals' lead to double digits, 17-7, with back-to-back offensive rebounds and putbacks to start the second half.
Ramsey managed to cut Vandalia's lead to single digits early in the fourth quarter, but Whightsil came up with one of her four steals and hit Brittany Anspach for a fast-break bucket that put the Lady Junior Vandals up by 10 again.
Anspach then returned the favor to Whightsil on a steal of her own for a basket that sucked the life out of Ramsey's comeback.
Anspach complemented Whightsil's double-double with seven points, five rebounds and four assists.
Haley Cothern, Tia Reynolds and Morgan Cripe added two points apiece for Vandalia (11-6), while Katie Koonce had four rebounds, and Megan Godoyo had two rebounds and two steals.
Taylor Knisley led Ramsey with nine points, five rebounds and five steals, while Shawna Raney had 10 rebounds, four points and two steals.
The Lady Junior Vandals will host Pana St. Pat's in their home finale Thursday at 6 p.m.