Buckingham Steals Road Win At Randolph-Henry

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012

CHARLOTTE C.H. – To win, a team only has to hold the lead one time in a game. Buckingham County High School held a lead twice in its Tuesday night game at Randolph-Henry, but the second time was the most important as the Knights stole a 53-52 victory over the Statesmen.

With four seconds remaining, a fall-away teardrop shot by senior LA Briley from about 12 feet out gave the Knights the come-from-behind victory on a night when they really didn't play that well for three quarters.

“They hung in there and remained focused,” said BCHS head coach Russ Gowin. “That last play with LA hitting the shot was just terrific. He penetrated the lane and squared his shoulders enough to get off a great shot.

Email newsletter signup

“That's a senior stepping up when we needed it the most.”

It didn't start out well for the Knights who entered the game on a hot streak, winning nine of their last ten games.

Things really didn't get going until the fourth quarter. Randolph-Henry took its largest lead with seven minutes left remaining on a stick-back by senior guard Bryant Jones.

Still, it took some time for Buckingham to make its run. Trailing 45-34 with 5:55 remaining, Buckingham turned up the pressure, by showing a full court press in brief spurts.

BCHS senior guard Tarian Ayers hit two foul shots with 5:23 left, and after a R-H turnover, Briley scored on a layup with 4:47 remaining.

Buckingham closed the gap to 45-44 on a jumper by junior Cam Johnson.

Randolph-Henry which hit just two field goals in the fourth quarter canned four straight free throws to take a five-point lead with just under three minutes left, but Buckingham continued to play tough defense on one end, and be aggressive on the other. Two foul shots by Dequan Scott gave the Knights their first lead of the game with 1:05 left.

Randolph-Henry senior forward Khari Jenkins put the Statesmen back ahead with a stickback with 50 seconds left. A missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one at the 33.6 mark gave Buckingham possession and the option to run down the clock.

Setting up for one last shot, the Knights almost lost the ball twice, and with 4.6 seconds left, Briley found a big enough opening in the lane for the fall-away jumper.

Randolph-Henry had one last shot, an open layup that bounced off the rim and into the hands of Buckingham forward Tariq Bartee who swatted the ball away from harm as the buzzer sounded.

“We didn't play well for three quarters, but we closed the game out,”said Gowin. “That's one thing we've been able to do all season – close out games. These kids didn't fold when many teams would've, and it worked out for them tonight.”

Ayers led the Knights with a double-double of 15 points and ten rebounds.

He also had four assists. Cam Johnson scored 12 points to go along with seven rebounds, and Briley scored 12 and pulled down five boards.

Bartee scored ten and his fifth rebound at the buzzer sealed the game.

The victory sealed up second place for the Knights, who still have a shot at tying Amelia for the JRD regular-season title.

Buckingham was scheduled to host Amelia on Thursday night, and will wrap up the regular season on Friday against Bluestone.

Amelia, which is unbeaten in the JRD, would have to lose both games for Buckingham to force a tiebreaker game for the championship.

“This win did a lot for us not only in the district, but in our standing in the regional,” said Gowin.

Gowin has a rather unique approach when it comes to talking about the postseason in that he freely discusses it with his team.

“We talk about it every day,” said Gowin. “Getting to the Region Tournament is one of our goals, so it only makes sense for us to discuss it. We talk about where we stand and what we need to do.

“If you don't do that, when you do reach the playoffs, the kids can say 'oh, we're in the playoffs,' and they may not be ready. To us it's just a part of our season. It's an expectation for us and for our fans. By talking about it, we're better prepared mentally when we get there.”