Knights Advance To JRD Tournament Finals
Published 4:12 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013
The No 1 seed Buckingham County High School boys basketball team held off a late charge by No. 5 seed Cumberland on Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the James River District Tournament to win 55-50 over the upset-minded Dukes.
Buckingham will host No. 3 Bluestone, which turned away No. 7 Amelia 40-30, on Friday night around 8 p.m. in the JRD Tournament Championship game.
“Cumberland is playing about as well as anyone in the district right now,” said BCHS head coach Russ Gowin. “They've given us fits the last two times we've played them, and we were fortunate to get the win tonight.”
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Buckingham led for most of the game, and held a 30-22 lead at the break. The Knights led by as many as ten points in the second half, before Cumberland found senior center Harry Bailey inside to cut the BCHS lead to three points.
“The James River District doesn't give a Most Improved award, but if it did, Bailey should get it. Players improve relative to one-another during the offseason, when some work harder than others, he's been able to do it during the season, when it's almost impossible to do.”
Bailey led the Dukes with a game-high 22 points, and was neutralized only after BCHS clamped down on him with double and triple teams late in the game.
The Knights got a big contribution from senior Tariq Bartee, who turned in his best performance since returning from a two-week absence.
“He had the hot hand, and I'm proud that our guys recognized it and fed him the ball,” said Gowin. “Every time we needed a basket, he came through with a big three-pointer or jumper that gave us some momentum.”
Cumberland got as close as three points late in the game, but the Knights were able to maintain their small lead and advance to the next round.
In addition to Bailey's 22 points, Dione Booker put in 11. In addition to Bartee's 20 points for the Knights, Timothy Randolph scored a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds, while Dre Scott tallied ten points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Cam Johnson scored only seven points for Buckingham, but was credited with six assists.
“He was the facilitator for us tonight, but we've got to get him more involved in the offense from here on out.”
Prior to Friday's title game, Bluestone and Goochland will play for the Junior Varsity Championship beginning at 6 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to arrive as early as possible, as there will not be as much crowd turnover between the games, due to both Bluestone teams making both games.
“It was full tonight, especially given that it was a mid-week game, but I expect it will be packed on Friday. Usually, a lot of the fans that come to watch the JV game will leave after that game is over, but the Bluestone fans will surely stay for both, and it's just going to be a great atmosphere.”