Amelia's Defense Stuns Knights In JRD Championship Gmae

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

AMELIA C.H. – For as much as his Buckingham County High School boys basketball team was struggling in the James River District Championship game against top seed and tournament host Amelia, Russ Gowin looked up at the scoreboard in the third quarter and was surprised to find his team down just six points.

Buckingham had a number of chances to get closer, but were unable to capitalize on them. After Amelia caught a second wind, the Raiders went on to record a convincing 62-42 victory which capped an undefeated season against James River District opponents.

Buckingham trailed 28-19 at the end of the first half, but a three-point play by BCHS senior LA Briley cut the Raiders' lead to eight points just seconds into the third quarter.

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Amelia answered on the other end with a basket by Trey Williams, but Buckingham junior Tariq Bartee's stickback again made it a two-possession game.

“I saw the scoreboard, and thought that we were lucky to be down by just six points, but if we could just make a little run, we could change the feel of the game,” said Gowin. “We had a couple of chances, but just couldn't get over that hump.

“Amelia is a super team. They play hard and made plays all night long. There's a reason they're undefeated.”

Buckingham would stay in striking distance for much of the third quarter. A three-pointer by Williams with 3:27 left pushed Amelia's lead to 41-27. Buckingham was creating scoring opportunites, but was unable to keep pace. The Knights missed five of six free throws in the final two minutes of the third and were behind 44-29 at the end of the quarter.

Amelia wasn't finished, and took its largest lead of the game at 53-31 on a stickback by Taylor Ward at the 5:30 mark. Buckingham was unable to get up off the mat. Senior guard Tarian Ayers scored on three quick layup attempts, but by then, Amelia was more than willing to trade a bucket for possession.

“I'm proud of the effort,” said Gowin. “We just made too many little mistakes. If you make those little mistakes long enough, they'll eventually start hurting you, and that's what happened.”

Ayers led the Knights with 12 points on the evening. Briley was the only other Buckingham player to reach double figures. He had 11. Drequan Scott finished with eight. Junior wing Cam Johnson was injured late in the second quarter and wasn't effective against the physical Amelia defense.

As a team, Buckingham was 16-56 from the floor, an uncharacteristic 29 percent. The Knights' fortunes weren't much better at the free throw line where they were 9-20 (45 percent). Buckingham was 1-9 (11 percent) from beyond the arc. The lone three-pointer came in the final minute of the game by Denzel Banks.

Buckingham pulled down 35 rebounds, but only four on the offensive end. Bartee and Scott led the Knights with nine apiece.

The Knights committed 15 turnovers, with only ten team assists. A rough game all around.

“It was Amelia's night,” said Gowin. “They make you uncomfortable. We're a good team, but Amelia, especially tonight, is just a little better.”

The loss pushed Buckingham out of a home game to begin the Region B, Division 2 Quarterfinals. Instead, the Knights were scheduled to travel to William Monroe on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. game.