Dukes win Christmas tournament

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Cumberland varsity boys basketball team closed out its 2017 schedule by winning the Cumberland County High School Christmas Tournament for the first time, improving to 6-2 on the season.

“Winning our own tournament definitely builds our confidence, carrying us over … into the second part of the season,” Dukes Head Coach Tyrone Mosby said. “So we’ve got something to build on getting us prepared for hopefully the district tournament … into the regionals.”

This was the third year Cumberland has hosted the tourney. This year, the two-day event also featured Prince Edward County, Nottoway and Rappahannock County high schools.

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The Dukes faced Prince Edward in the championship game Dec. 27 and won 45-31.

“We started off kind of slow, both teams did, and I think we picked it up middle of the way through the third quarter and carried over into the fourth with our defense,” Mosby said. “So, I would say our defense definitely is our identity.”

Dukes senior small forward Darius Kyle contributed 12 points and 15 rebounds.

On Dec. 26, Cumberland routed Rappahannock 79-24.

“The first night we played well,” Mosby said. “I got a lot of my players that normally come off the bench, they got quite a bit of playing time that night, which was good experience for them.”

The coach said he was satisfied with his team’s performance across both of its games in the tournament.

Key to their success on the court was junior center Christian Jackson, “with his rebounding ability on the boards and his offense in the paint and his size,” Mosby said. The coach also highlighted junior point guard Noah Bland for directing Cumberland’s offensive efforts and Kyle for “his rebounding ability (and) the ability also to handle the ball on the fast breaks, sort of like the point guard.”

Kyle was named MVP of the tournament, and he made the all-tournament team along with Bland.

With the loss in the title game, Prince Edward fell to 3-6 this season.

“We lost, but we played hard,” Eagles Head Coach James Scott said, citing a couple of late turnovers that the Dukes capitalized on as deciding factors in the game.

On Dec. 26, Prince Edward edged Nottoway 59-58.

“They played defense very well, and we had some free throws down the line, and we kept our turnovers down,” Scott said of the win against the Cougars.

Eagles junior forward Jair Haskins also made the all-tournament team.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., Cumberland visits Buckingham County High School (3-3) and Prince Edward visits Central Lunenburg High School (0-7).