Dukes Advance In JRD Tourney

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CUMBERLAND – Cumberland High School boys basketball team needed a boost of confidence as it began postseason play in the quarterfinal round of the James River District Tournament on Friday night at home against Central of Lunenburg.

The Dukes, who were seeded fourth in the five-team tournament, got it. Cumberland eased to a 77-37 victory to advance to the semifinal round in a game that was more or less decided by the end of the first quarter.

Cumberland junior Rashawn Sims scored 12 of his game-high 35 points in the opening quarter as the Dukes raced out to a 26-8 lead.

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Central, winless against JRD competition this season, had no answer for the combination of Sims and classmate Devonte Booker, who tallied what's believed to be the first triple-double in school history with 18 assists, 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“There was an emphasis in practice to not take these guys lightly,” said CHS first-year head coach Marcus Gregory. “We beat them by double-digits both times we played them in the regular-season, but when you let up, that's when a team can become dangerous, and I was glad to see we didn't allow that tonight.”

Cumberland led 41-21 at the half, and quickly extended its lead to 65-30 at the end of the third quarter.

Several times Booker pulled down rebounds on the defensive end and found a wide-open Sims streaking toward the basket for a wide-open lay-up.

“Devonte had a 50-point game and a 40-point game and several 30-point games, but he's done a good job of not being selfish,” said Gregory. “We talked to him about not trying to get 50 every night, and he's responded.”

Cumberland played a number of role players in the fourth quarter, which included junior varsity call-ups Bryant Winbush and Dione Booker. Both were able to score in the final period.

“We're very excited about our junior varsity call-ups. Winbush and Booker are going to be good players down the road, and it was good for them to get some varsity game experience tonight.”

In addition to Sims' 35 points, and Booker's 14, Demarius Trent scored eight points. Cumberland was 8-16 from the foul line.

Central was led by Rico Reese, who scored 12 points, while JP Sweitzer added ten and Jeremy Forward scored nine. The Chargers were 2-8 from the foul line.

Cumberland moves on to the semifinal round, and will travel to top-seeded Amelia on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

The Dukes lost two close games to the Raiders during the regular-season.

“They're hungry for Amelia,” said Gregory. “Amelia has played some good ball this season, and it paid off in a district title. We're playing well right now, and it's going to be a tough battle.”