Dukes fall in 1B semis, 49-48

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

3 earn all-region honors

A rematch of last season’s Region 1B varsity boys basketball championship unfolded Thursday in the regional semifinals, but this time, Cumberland County High School was not at home and did not come out on top.

In a highly competitive game, the No. 3 Dukes fell a few free throws short of victory, losing 49-48 to host No. 2 Riverheads High School.

Helping keep Cumberland in the game was its trio of seniors that went on to receive 2018-19 All-Region 1B accolades. Dukes guard Mark “M.J.” Patterson Jr. and 6-foot-7-inch center Christian Jackson made the all-region first team, and point guard Noah Bland made the second team.

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Cumberland Head Coach Tyrone Mosby had his mind on the regional championship game after his team’s season-ending loss last week.

“Being that we won it last year, it would have been nice to defend it,” he said. “But I was satisfied with how we played.”

The Dukes had a chance to win with three seconds remaining in a game that had been close since the end of the first quarter.

“We started off kind of slow,” Mosby said. “I think they had us 10-0 early in the first quarter, and I called timeout and settled us down and gave them a little chat, and then we came back out and ran a 14-4 run.”

The game was tied 14-14 going into the second period, and it was tied 30-30 at halftime.

“Going into the fourth, we were actually down by, like, four of five,” Mosby said.

But he commented that his team played well in the final period.

“Unfortunately, M.J. fouled out within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, and Noah was in foul trouble the whole game, so I had to sit him on and off throughout,” the coach said.

Mosby noted that Bland was left with a heavy load to carry in the final six minutes.

“As a senior and as a point guard, I thought he did a good job of that,” the coach said.

He added that Jackson also stepped up down the stretch.

“He hit some big shots for us in the paint to keep us close,” Mosby said. “Josh Johnson hit two clutch free throws coming down the stretch, and then Chris came back and actually hit two clutch free throws to tie it up at 48 with under a minute left.”

Then Cumberland’s defense held the Gladiators, who drew a foul but missed the free throw, and the Dukes rebounded, the coach said. With three seconds left, Bland was fouled and went to the charity stripe.

“We had went 14-for-14 from the free throw line the whole game,” Mosby said. “We actually were 100 percent, and unfortunately, he missed the front end of a one-and-one, and they got the rebound and called timeout.”

Riverheads still had to go the length of the court with 1.7 seconds left, the coach recalled. The Gladiators threw the ball all the way down, and it strangely hit the bottom of the backboard.

A Riverheads player got to it first, Mosby said, followed closely by Dukes junior guard D.J. Sims.

“They actually called a foul on D.J. with 0.7 seconds left on the clock,” the coach said. “And they were shooting two shots, because that was our 10th foul.”

The Riverheads player made one-of-two for the win.

Mosby was surprised by the foul call with less than a second left on the clock.

“It was a loose ball-type opportunity and with seven tenths of a second, I would assume the referees would leave that type of thing to the hands of the kids with a chance to advance to the state and possibly play for the Region (1)B championship …” he said.

Despite the loss, Mosby said he was pleased with his team’s all-region representation.

He said that across both regional games the Dukes played, Patterson averaged 19 points and Jackson averaged 12.5 points and 10 rebounds.

Cumberland finished with a 17-9 overall record.