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Salute to champions anew

It is a special time for Buckingham County High School athletics, and this fact was underscored several times more last week.

The Buckingham varsity boys basketball team clinched a share of the James River District (JRD) regular season championship Tuesday, Feb. 11. In their regular season finale that night, the Knights defeated host Nottoway High School 76-57.

Knights Head Coach Taylor Boyers confirmed this was the first time Buckingham had won the district regular season title since the 2012- 13 season.

The Knights secured the No. 1 seed in the JRD Tournament, which featured the top four teams in the district.

The tourney semifinals were Friday, Feb. 14, and Buckingham routed visiting No. 4 Randolph-Henry High School 77-45.

This set up a rematch between the Knights and the team with which they shared the regular season title — the Goochland High School Bulldogs.

Buckingham started the season 11-0, and it was the Bulldogs who handed Buckingham its first loss on its home floor, 58-55 Jan. 14.

The Knights returned the favor and then some Feb. 6 in Goochland when they routed the Bulldogs 65-48.

Adding to the weight of Saturday night’s district tournament title game in Buckingham was the sense that it was an extension of a year-long rivalry between the schools that started during football season.

Buckingham completed its return to the stature of a team that can win in the playoffs, going 10-2. Its second loss came in the regional semifinals to East Rockingham High School, and its regular season would have been an undefeated one had it not been for who else but the Bulldogs.

Goochland prevailed 13-7 in double overtime Sept. 13. It was a game many Buckingham fans would say should have been a Knights victory after junior quarterback Gerry “Tae” Toney appeared to have broken the plane of the goal line for the game-winning touchdown in overtime. But officials did not call the play dead, and the ball was knocked up in the air amongst the pile of players as the play continued. Officials opted to re-do the play, and the Knights did not score on the second attempt.

The Bulldogs later scored to earn the win.

The schools’ basketball teams feature some of the same players that competed against each other on the gridiron, including Toney and Goochland senior Quincy Snead, who were announced as district Co-Players of the Year Saturday night for boys basketball.

This announcement followed the tourney championship game in which the Knights, down 37-31 midway through the fourth quarter, scored 15 unanswered points to win 46-37.

The teams’ fan bases traveled well, as the stands were packed at each team’s gymnasium during this season.

Victories over the Bulldogs are made all the more satisfying for the Knights because of the fact Goochland has ascended to a different Virginia High School League classification. Because of its large student body, Goochland has moved up to Class 3, while Buckingham remains in Class 2.

Mutual respect between the teams Saturday night was on open display after the game, as all-district honors were announced. Also sharing a top honor were the teams’ coaches, Boyers and Preston Gordon, who were named district Co-Coaches of the Year.

Each team will continue on in their respective classification’s regional tournament, and so continues this special time for Buckingham athletics.

Last year, it was the Lady Knights varsity basketball team winning the district regular season and tourney titles. This season, in addition to the varsity boys, the Buckingham junior varsity boys and girls teams also won district regular season titles.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email