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Knights’ exemplary ’19-’20 run ends

Buckingham County High School’s varsity boys basketball team competed Friday night, Feb. 28, at home in a Region 2B Tournament semifinal that was played at nothing short of a frenetic pace.

The No. 2 Knights faced a No. 3 Stuarts Draft High School squad that helped maintain that pace by substituting most if not all of its five-man lineup with significant frequency during the game, utilizing all of its skilled 16-man roster. The contest was close for the first half, but the Cougars were able to open up a lead in the final two quarters. Buckingham, down by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, showed tremendous heart in rallying to cut the deficit to five, but Stuarts Draft ultimately prevailed 89-83.

“It was a tough way to go out,” Knights Head Coach Taylor Boyers said in a Monday, March 2, interview. “I was really proud of our guys, the way we battled. I’ve talked about it all year, how gritty this team has been. We saw it again on Friday.”

The game was played before a packed gymnasium, with the Knights’ fandom dominating the stands next to a solid representation of the Cougars’ fanbase.

Fueling Buckingham’s efforts Friday night were junior guard Amari Toney, with 20 points, junior forward Xavier Copeland, with 15 points, junior forward Gerry “Tae” Toney, with 14 points, sophomore guard Damorrious Holman, with 14 points, and senior center James DeVore, with seven points.

With the loss, the Knights fell just shy of clinching a berth in the state tournament and the regional title game. Nevertheless, they stand as the James River District Tournament champions and the district regular season co-champions. They finished with an impressive 22-4 overall record, registering 11 more wins than last season and 10 fewer losses.

Boyers described the 2019-20 Knights as a special group.

“We talked about the heart and the intensity and the grit that they played with all season,” he said. “It’s been a really fun team to be around. They loved to compete. They’re really a tough group of guys.”

Buckingham will lose a key presence in the paint, DeVore, due to graduation later this year, but the Knights could otherwise return their entire roster for the 2020-21 campaign.