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Knights win district tournament championship

The varsity boys basketball 2019-20 James River District regular season co-champions faced off against each other in the district tournament championship game Saturday, Feb. 15, in Buckingham County, and it ended up being a celebratory night for the Knights.

Buckingham County High School’s varsity boys basketball team affirmed its No. 1 seeding in the tourney, showing grit in the fourth quarter to come back against visiting No. 2 Goochland High School. Trailing by six with less than four minutes to play, the Knights went on to score 15 unanswered points and emerge with a 46-37 title-clinching victory in front of a large crowd.

“We fought for this all year, we wanted this, and this is what we got,” Buckingham junior forward Gerry “Tae” Toney said. “I’m proud of it. I’m proud of me and my team for coming a long way and accomplishing this.”

The Knights ended up 7-13 overall during their 2017-18 season, they went 11-14 last season, and they are 21-3 this season, earning district regular season and tournament titles and the No. 2 seed in the Region 2B Tournament. Buckingham will host Strasburg High School in the regional quarterfinals Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m.

Reflecting on Saturday’s win, Knights Head Coach Taylor Boyers said it means a lot.

“It was a great game tonight,” he said. “It was a wild game. It was back-and-forth, two really good basketball teams going at it, and I was just proud of the way our guys hung in there.”

Unlike the teams’ last regular season meeting Feb. 6 when Virginia High School League Class 2 Buckingham blew out the Class 3 Bulldogs in Goochland 65-48, Saturday’s showdown was close throughout. Goochland pulled ahead 37-31 midway through the fourth quarter.

“I know we struggled offensively for a while, but we just kept buckling down on defense, and we knew we were going to get something offensively at some point, and I’m just really proud of our guys, proud of the grittiness of them,” Boyers said.

The Knights closed the game with a 15-0 run that included a go-ahead basket from Gerry Toney, which made the score 38-37. Junior guard Amari Toney then converted a 3-point play and added two more free throws later to push the lead out to 43-37.

Amari Toney readily identified the key to victory for his team.

“Composure — we just kept it,” he said.

He also highlighted lockdown defense, hitting clutch free throws, boxing out and rebounding.

“Every little thing got us that win tonight,” he said.

He led Buckingham for the game with 13 points. Gerry Toney contributed nine points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Xavier Copeland and senior center James DeVore each added eight points.