They had met once before, with the L.C. Bird Skyhawks girls basketball team on the short end of a 72-57 score on their home floor against a Highland Springs team that seemed to be a juggernaut marching their way back to the state championship game.
But on March 4, 2015, the script flipped, showing the incredible will of one of the best girls basketball players in Richmond-area history, as Taja Cole not only scored 38 points, but had eight rebounds, five assists, and five steals as the Skyhawks handed the Springers their first, and only, loss of the year by a count of 61-46.
Highland Springs seemed out of sorts from the start of the game, never able to get their famed full-court press defense in gear to help fuel their transition game, which they had used all season to build big early leads on opponents of all kinds. Springer fans were in shock at Hermitage High School when their team could only muster 18 first half points, finding themselves down by sixteen at the half.
Highland Springs mounted mini-comebacks, but nothing that truly threatened Cole's special night. When the Skyhawks needed a play to keep the Springers at bay, enter the dependable point guard to do just that.
This game clinched a state tournament berth for the Skyhawks, and although they fell a win shy of the 5A State Girls Basketball Championship, their season was one of resilience and toughness on the part of the entire team.
But March 4th belonged to Taja Cole. She is in Louisville now preparing for her college career as a Cardinal. L.C. Bird fans will forever remember her for many things, but maybe first on the list, the night she helped slay a giant.