Eagles Hold Dukes At Bay

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FARMVILLE – The Cumberland High School boys basketball team showed that it has made much progress since its first meeting with Prince Edward on December 1, but the Eagles still proved to be too much for the Dukes last Friday in a 65-52 game won by Prince Edward at the PECMS Gymnasium.

The Eagles worked out to a three-possession lead late in the second quarter, and never surrendered their advantage, although PE was unable to shake Cumberland, either.

“It was an improved effort,” said CHS head coach Marcus Gregory, comparing his team's performance with a 70-44 loss to PE on December 1. “We missed too many key shots, and free throws.

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“We improved on our boxing out and our turnovers, and we changed some things up on defense, which helped, but we couldn't hit the big shot to get us over the hump.”

Cumberland was 0-3 on first-shot one-and-one attempts in the second half. On the other end, Prince Edward answered every Cumberland challenge with a big bucket from either Djuan Wilburn or Raheem Smith.

“They came right at us and played much better,” said PECHS head coach James Scott. “We weren't able to run away and hide like we did last week, but when we needed a big play the most, we were able to get it and do good things.”

Prince Edward (4-0) led 32-25 at the half, and was able to extend its advantage to 39-29 on a Wilburn lay-up with 5:35 left in the third quarter.

Cumberland (0-3) junior Rashawn Sims cut the PECHS lead to five points with consecutive three-point-play opportunities. Up 41-36 with just under four minutes remaining in the third, Smith buried a jumper to stem the Dukes' momentum, and PE took a 46-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

Another Sims three-point play pulled CHS back to within seven at 48-41 with 6:57 remaining, but Smith again buried a big jumper for the Eagles on the ensuing possession to help preserve PE's lead.

A three-pointer by Devonte Booker was followed with a stickback by Sims that pulled the Dukes to within five points at 53-48, but Wilburn answered on the other end with a high-arching floater to end Cumberland's mini-run.

Prince Edward was able to put the game away at the free throw line. The Eagles were 8-8 from the line over the final 1:30. Prince Edward was 13-15 on foul shots in the fourth quarter.

PECHS guard Darius Ford, who had 30 points in the December 1 meeting, was held to just nine points on Friday night, however, Ford was 7-7 from the foul line to help boost PE's team percentage.

“We talk about how important free throw shooting is,” said Scott. “They executed their game plan to slow Ford down, and when that happens, someone has to step up, and fortunately for us, someone did.”

“Ford was a focus,” said Gregory. “He dropped 30 on us in the last game, so we wanted to make sure he wasn't going to get that high of a point total.”

Sims led all scorers with a game-high 20 points, while Booker added 18, and Damonn Miller scored eight. Cumberland was 6-15 (40 percent) from the foul line.

Wilburn's 18 points led the Eagles, while Smith added 17. Stephone Evans scored 12, with Ford adding nine points. For the game, Prince Edward was 23-31 (74 percent) from the foul line.

Cumberland will host Central Virginia Home School on Friday night, and will host Fluvanna on Wednesday, December 22.

“Right now, we just need to win,” said Gregory. We've got two good tests coming up, and we'll have to play well to get a win. Hopefully we can break the ice, and get everything going and moving in the right direction before the break.”

Due to Monday's inclement weather, Prince Edward's game against Buckingham was rescheduled to January 31. The Eagles were scheduled to host Park View on Wednesday, and will travel to Southampton on Friday night.

Prince Edward will travel to Buckingham next Tuesday.

“It's always better to be 4-0 than 0-4, but I think we're playing pretty well right now. We've played four games against two teams that wouldn't look past us. That's good for us as we start district play. You've got to be ready to play every night. You can't take breaks.”