BCHS Rallies, Holds Off Goochland in Region B Quarterfinals

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, February 21, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – Fresh off a 7-2 upset last week to Amelia County in the James River District Tournament Quarterfinals, the Goochland High School boys basketball team was hoping to pull a 7-2 upset of its own in Wednesday's Region B, Division 2 Quarterfinal against No. 2 seed Buckingham County.

The Knights, who won the James River District Tournament on Friday night had to endure a slow start early on and a furious comeback attempt by the Bulldogs in the final minute of the game to hold on for a 50-47 victory over their district-mates.

BCHS senior Timmy Randolph, who is better known for his ability to slash to the bucket on the offensive end, harassed Goochland sharp-shooter Evan Smith, whose long-range shots got the Bulldogs back into the contest, enough to keep Smith from getting a potential game-tying shot off toward the basket.

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“I was just trying to keep him from getting a good look at the basket,” said Randolph, who scored 14 points for the Knights. “I had to try to stay in front of him, but not let him get enough space, while trying not to foul. He's a great shooter, and not easy at all to guard.”

By the time Smith was able to get a contested heave to the bucket, the buzzer had sounded, and approximately 300 BCHS very boisterous students were swarming the court.

“It was just a great game, and I couldn't be any prouder of the effort our guys gave tonight,” said BCHS head coach Russ Gowin. “Goochland came in here with a chip on their shoulder, and I thought played us as well as anyone could, but we were able to do just enough to hold off their rally.”

The Knights trailed 15-7 at the end of the first quarter and 21-14 at the break, before staring to cut into the Bulldogs' lead.

A steal and layup by BC defensive specialist Kyree Koonce pulled the Knights to within a point at 25-24 with 3:29 left in the third.

Koonce finished the game with just three points before fouling out, but had three steals, three assists and six rebounds.

“We have others on this team that can score 20 points a night,” said Koonce, a standout running back on the football team. “I love to help the team by playing strong defense, and getting my teammates the ball so they can score.”

“He understands that he can help us best with his defense,” said Gowin of Koonce, whose contribution to the game may better show up in the stat line of the man he guards, rather than his own. “You can tell when he's in there and when he's not.”

Buckingham took the lead with 7:48 left on a short shot by Randolph. The Knights capped a 9-0 run with a three-pointer by Dre Scott. The Knights extended their lead to 11 points with 2:37 left to play at 43-32 on a three-point-play by Randolph, before Koonce fouled out with 2:23 remaining.

Buckingham didn't score a field goal the rest of the way. Goochland began to hit long-range jump shots. Three three-pointers (two by Smith) pulled the Bulldogs to within two points with 19.0 seconds remaining. It looked like the Knights could put the game away with 15.2 seconds left when Smith was called for an intentional foul, but Randolph hit just one of two foul shots and BCHS turned the ball over with 13.9 left.

The two teams traded made foul shots, with Randolph making two shots to put BC up 50-47 with 9.4 left.

A turnover by Goochland and a turnover back to the Bulldogs led up to Randolph's defensive stand on the game's final play.

“Big time players step up and make big time plays,” said Goochland head coach Preston Gordon. “I am proud of our seniors. They poured their hearts out and did a phenomenal job, and Cam [Johnson] showed solid leadership and experience on their end. It was win-or-go home. Their guys fought hard and were able to come away with it.”

Johnson, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, ended up with a steady 20 points on the night, while Randolph scored 14 to go along with seven rebounds. Scott added ten points and ten rebounds, while Tariq Bartee dished out six assists.

Smith scored 16 points to lead Goochland, while Josh Hayden added ten.

Buckingham moves on to the Region B, Division 2 Semifinals on Friday, to play No. 3 seed Dan River.

Much of Wednesday's game against Goochland could've been played in a phone booth, given the Bulldogs' physical style. Friday's game may need to be played on a runway, rather than the gym at Cumberland High School.

“It's going to be a wild one,” said Gowin. Dan River likes to push the ball and run an up-tempo game. We're kind of in between Goochland and Dan River, but to some extent, we're going to have to play with them toe-to-toe. This will be two of the top five teams in the state going after one-another. I hate that it's having to be played this early, but that shows just how strong Region B is this year.”