The Lady Buffs in their 2008 State Championship run

If all had gone according to plan, I would be headed to Richmond Thursday for the semi-finals of the Virginia High School League state basketball tournament at the Seigel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University and, I had hoped, staying over the final game on Saturday.

Been there for the last four years photographing the girls’ varsity basketball team’s annual appearance in the final four.

But the girls lost in the semi-final regional game to Glenvar — the final game for retiring coach and legend Alan Cantrell — and Chilhowie beat Radford and is headed for Richmond after winning their quarterfinal game last week.

We had two shots at Richmond this year. The boys’ team also qualified for the regionals but lost in the opening round.

The March trip to Richmond had become an annual rite. Besides seeing, and photographing, some great high school basketball, the visit gave me a chance to meet Floyd Countian Randy Hallman, for many years a sportswriter and editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, for brunch and have dinner with other friends.

Still, the girls had a great run: four straight trips to the final four. The streak had to end sometime.

So I will stay in Floyd County this week with the hope that this will finally be the week when we can free Amy’s Jeep Liberty from the clutches of the ice and snow that still chokes the top of our driveway.