A three-and-a-half hour drive to Richmond is almost an annual rite in March — hauling my cameras and a laptop to cover another appearance of Floyd County High School’s Lady Buffaloes in the final four of the Virginia High School league’s state 2A basketball championship.
The ladies appear in the final four with a regularity unmatched by other teams in the Commonwealth, thanks to the talent of the young athletes and the coaching abilities of legendary coach Alan Cantrell and — in later years — his assistant and son Alan, who is also the school’s athletic director.
The Lady Buffs face the Ridgeview Wolfpack from Clintwood at 5:30 p.m. Thursday — a revenge match against the team that beat Floyd in the Regional 2A championship game last month.
Ridgeview is a new consolidated school, created by the merger of Haysi, Clnton and Ervington high schools in Dickenson County.
As the district and conference champs, the Lady Buffs qualified for the state tournament and won the trip of the final four with a come-from-behind victory over Buffalo Gap in a hard-fought game at James Madison University in Harrisonburg last Saturday.
The winner of Thursday game goes on to the state championship final Saturday at the Siegel Center.