Dukes advance to regional final, states

Published 8:28 am Friday, February 23, 2018

Cumberland County High School’s varsity boys basketball team secured a berth in the regional final and the state tournament for the first time in 27 years Thursday night with its dominant 72-51 victory over visiting William Campbell High School in the Region 1B tournament semifinals.

The No.1 Dukes (14-8) will host No. 2 Riverheads High School in the regional championship game Saturday at 7 p.m.

Tyrone Mosby, Cumberland’s head coach, recalls the last time the Dukes made it this far in the postseason.

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“That’s when I was playing, ‘91,” he said. “We went to the state finals.”

The Dukes narrowly finished as state runners-up, falling 55-53 to Lebanon High School.

Now the 2017-18 Cumberland squad has the opportunity to write its own chapter of school history.

In leading the Dukes to the state tournament, Mosby said, “It feels good to be coming back to my alma mater and being able to do that at the same place that I also played at.”

After a strong start for Cumberland on Thursday night against No. 5 William Campbell, the result was rarely in doubt. The Dukes led 39-14 at halftime and 60-33 after the third quarter.

Mosby said the key to victory was “being able to play our position correctly and being able to rotate to help somebody else in a time of need.”

The Dukes demonstrated intensity on both the defensive and offensive ends of the court, something Mosby had addressed with them recently.

“The last game that we played against Rappahannock and this game, we had the intensity that we started the season with,” he said. “It seems like towards the end of the season, we kind of slacked off, so (I’m) just trying to keep them focused and then get back to the same mentality that we started the season with.”

Cumberland defeated visiting No. 8 Rappahannock County High School 65-27 in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday.

Highlighting individual play Thursday, Mosby praised Cumberland junior center Christian Jackson, who made a key difference with his inside presence.

The Dukes were also aided by strong performances from their perimeter players, who drove to the hoop with authority and also made key inside passes to create easy baskets.

Now Cumberland will take on Riverheads for the regional title.

“I haven’t seen them play yet, but they’ve made it this far; I’m pretty sure they’re a pretty disciplined team,” Mosby said. “I’m pretty sure they’re well coached, so I’m just going to go off of that for right now and show them some respect. … Come out and try to play our best defensive game we possibly can play.”

Riverheads reached the final after defeating visiting No. 3 Carver College and Career Academy on Thursday and visiting No. 7 Central Lunenburg High School on Tuesday.