Knights get signature win

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Buckingham County High School varsity boys basketball team fell 59-51 to visiting Nottoway High School on Friday, but that loss did not overshadow the big road win the Knights had notched the night before.

On Thursday, Buckingham trailed by nine going into the final period against talented Randolph-Henry High School only to come back and defeat the Statesmen, 48-44.

“We used a lot of energy coming back and winning at Randolph-Henry in a real emotional game over there,” Knights Head Coach Russ Gowin said. “That’s always an emotional game with us. Over the years, it’s been a battle.”

The Statesmen led 14-12 after the first quarter, 26-17 at halftime and 37-28 after three quarters.

“I was so proud of our kids hanging in there when we struggled with our shooting a little bit early in the first three quarters,” Gowin said. “And then that fourth quarter, outscoring them 20-7 was huge.”

Senior guard Antonio Chambers finished the game with 29 points to go with six steals and four rebounds.

“Antonio was superb in that fourth quarter,” Gowin said. “I think he had 16 in that period. He did a great job rallying us.”

A change on defense helped the Knights turn the tide in the final eight minutes.

“We went from a zone defense,” Gowin said. “We gambled and went with a real sticky man-to-man, and it kind of worked. They got cold after we started being real aggressive, and we got hot, and just the two things worked out good together.”

Sophomore guard Andrew Johnson Jr. contributed nine points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal, and senior guard Gray Heslip went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 45 seconds to seal the victory.

“It’s just hard to get road wins,” Gowin said. “It really is. And if you get one, it’s big, and especially for a young team.”

The coach highlighted his team’s victory over King William High School earlier this season and Thursday’s triumph as signature wins.

“It’s a long process, and we’re getting there,” he said. “Little by little, we’re getting there.”

Against Nottoway on Friday, the Knights were likely fatigued, but Gowin was not using that as an excuse for his team’s performance against the Cougars, which he said are battling for one of the top spots in the district.

“We only scored 14 in the first half,” he said. “We shot real poorly in the first half and had some turnovers. But, in the second half, we scored 37 points and played so much better.”

Chambers supplied 22 points, seven boards, three steals and two assists, while Heslip had 11 points, four steals and three rebounds and junior center Brycen Newby had a team-high 11 boards.

Buckingham (5-6) visited Central Lunenburg High School on Tuesday and hosts Bluestone High School on Wednesday at 7 p.m.