Knights Complete Sweep Of James River District Titles

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – The Buckingham County High School boys basketball team completed a sweep of both the James River District regular-season and tournament championship with a 67-48 victory over Bluestone on Friday night in the JRD Tournament championship game.<br />
The Knights, who have won 12 straight after their only setback of the season against Goochland on January 8, will face the No. 7 Bulldogs as the second seed in the Region B, Division 2 quarterfinals.

“I'm so proud of the focus our guys have shown pretty much all season,” said BCHS head coach Russ Gowin. “The seniors played super, and Kyree's [Koonce] defensive effort over the last few weeks has been phenomenal.”

The Knights built a 12-6 lead, and used a 15-2 run early on in the second quarter to take a commanding 22-8 lead on a scoop-and-score layup by Koonce with 3:57 left in the half.

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BCHS held a 28-14 lead, and extended it to a 21-point advantage with 3:23 left on a jumper by Cam Johnson. A three-point-play by senior Tariq Bartee with 15.4 seconds remaining in the third gave BCHS a 48-26 lead.

Bluestone didn't roll over, and chipped away at the BCHS lead in the fourth. A floater by Damien Winbush cut the Knights' lead to 11 points with 1:44 remaining, but the Knights, who were inconsistent at the line to that point put the game away on 12-14 foul shooting over the balance of the game.

“Our kids do a super job closing games,” said Gowin. “When you do that you can win championships, and we've done that so far. We struggled at the foul line for much of the night, but when we needed to clamp down we were able to do that.

“We spend a lot of time on free throws, especially at the end of practice when everyone is tired. That's when they matter the most.”

For the Knights, it's a goal realized.

“Ever since we lost to Goochland, we've been approaching every game like it's a playoff game,” said Johnson. “I think we got a little ahead of ourselves when we lost to them, and it brought us back down and made us refocus on our goals. It was important to us that we not only win the league, but get as good of a seed as we could for the playoffs.

“I think having Goochland as our first round opponent can serve as a reminder that we can't get ahead of ourselves if we want to accomplish our ultimate goals.”

Bluestone was led by Winbush, who scored 16 points, while Darius Baskerville added 15.

Johnson led three Knights in double-figure scoring with a game-high 17 points. He also had six rebounds and six assists.

Timmy Randolph added 13 points and six rebounds, while Dre Scott scored 11 points and pulled down five rebounds. Tariq Bartee scored eight points, and Koonce added seven, but also hauled in five rebounds, tallied five assists and caused five Bluestone turnovers.

The winner of Wednesday night's Region B, Division 2 Quarterfinal game will move on to Friday's Semifinal game against the winner between No. 3 Dan River and No. 6 Bluestone on Friday at 7 p.m. at Cumberland High School – a neutral “home” site.

The Region B title game will be held on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.