Dukes’ rally falls short

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cumberland County High School’s varsity boys basketball team saved its best performances of the season against the district’s top two teams for the James River District tournament, but the No. 3 Dukes came up just short Monday night in the tourney title game, losing 55-52 to host No. 1 Goochland High School.

It looked like the game would simply be a blowout at halftime when the Bulldogs led by nearly 20 points.

“I think probably by the middle of the third, they were up by 20,” Cumberland Head Coach Tyrone Mosby said. “But I kind of changed my defense up and kind of gave my players a pep talk, and they buckled down on the defensive end and got some key stops, and we got some turnovers and some layups, so the momentum shifted toward our favor by the end of the third quarter, by the beginning of the fourth, and we had made it a ballgame again.”

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The coach credited a trio of his top senior players for making the turnaround possible — center Christian Jackson, guard Mark “M.J.” Patterson Jr. and point guard Noah Bland.

Patterson finished with 15 points, Jackson had 11 and Bland had 10.

On Saturday, the Dukes defeated host No. 2 Bluestone High School 40-38.

Mosby noted a mixture of defensive schemes and strong play from his seniors keyed that victory.

Patterson had 15 points, Jackson had nine and senior forward Jalen Foster also had nine.

The Dukes (15-8), defending regional champions, also hold the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Region 1B tournament. They host No. 6 Rappahannock County High School in the first round Monday at 7 p.m.