EastMont girls under new management
ELLISTON – The adjective “scrappy” often enjoys gratuitous application in the lexicon of sports.
So give the Eastern Montgomery High School girls credit for earning the designation by legitimate means on the basketball
court. How legitimate?
Well, the girls were playing at Craig County Dec. 4 and they played so hard that six Mustangs fouled out.
Absolutely. Check the boxscore. But that’s beside the point. It’s not who or how many that were disqualified, it’s the
three that finished the game that furnished the headline.
That’s right, friends. It was three-on-five for the last several minutes.
“And we still only lost only lost by three,” first-year EastMont coach Nick Cornwell said.
The final score was 45-42. So about that defense the Mustangs played down the stretch. You might have guessed they played
“It was terrible,” said senior Hillary Wilson, one of the surviving trio. “We tried hard for three players.”
Give it up for the effort. That been there all five games for the nine players on hand.
“We’ve had players contributing in all different areas,” said Cornwell, who took over the program this year from Mike
Hunter. “I’m going to play all of them.”
Wilson, the daughter of assistant coach Gary Wilson, is one of two seniors along with Casey Smith. Afton Graham has been
the scoring leader so far followed closely by Chloe Phoenix, who is coming back off a knee injury last year. Sarah Simpkins
has been the leading rebounder.
Also back from last year’s 2-20 team is Dakota Shepherd. Candace Cunningham, Hailey Ferguson, and Lauryn Honaker have all
been contributors this year.
Cornwell’s prior coaching experience was with boys. He’s already settled in with the girls game.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s more of a team game.”
It is this year for EastMont. Maybe not so much last.
“It’s more of a positive environment for everybody this year,” Smith said. “We have a more well-balanced team. We’re fast.
Everybody’s gets along, too. Division was definitely on the team last year.”
The new team got off to a good start beating Narrows 43-39 in the opener.
“It helped to begin the season with a win,” Smith said.
The new coach has made an immediate favorable impression with his new charges.
“He’s awesome,” Smith said. “He’s knowledgeable and he knows how to talk to us.” Added Wilson: “He doesn’t quit on us
ever. He’s very positive.”
Cornwell is the son of a coach. Steve Cornwell coached both boys and girls back home in Stafford County and in Lancaster
County. The father has dispensed helped counsel. It figures the son knows some stuff.
“It runs in the family,” he said.
By Ray CoxThe Roanoke Times | 381-1672
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