Dukes pull away in ‘Battle of Rt. 60’

The varsity boys basketball teams from Cumberland County and Buckingham County high schools faced off Friday for the second “Battle of Rt. 60” this season, and the Dukes achieved a regular season series sweep for the 2018-19 campaign.

They led the host Knights 15-12 after the first quarter, 34-24 at halftime, 43-28 after three quarters and 61-41 to end the game.

“Our defense was good all night,” Cumberland Head Coach Tyrone Mosby said. “We got out and contested their three-point shooters and made them work for everything that they got. And our offense, we pretty much kept the floor spaced out, which was probably the best we played all year doing it — keeping my guards spaced out and the big on the post.”

He said he didn’t know if he would classify Buckingham’s defense as a box-and-one — a defensive scheme designed to limit a single outstanding offensive player — but the Knights were definitely focused on the Dukes’ 6-foot-7-inch senior center Christian Jackson.

Mosby noted that Jackson did not give Cumberland much on offense, “but I know he had probably 18 rebounds, so what he didn’t give us on the offensive end, he definitely gave it to us on the defensive end as far as the boards.”

Meanwhile, the Dukes were led on offense by senior guard Mark Patterson Jr., who scored 25 points. Senior forward Joshua Johnson produced 17 points, and senior point guard Noah Bland added 10.

Praising Patterson, Mosby said, “He had a pretty good offensive game, and his defense, I think it got him pumped up for a good offensive game.”

Cumberland returned to action Monday evening, defeating visiting Nottoway High School 56-43 to improve its overall record to 12-6.

On Jan. 22, the Dukes fell 52-44 to visiting Goochland High School,  the team that is No. 2 in the James River District and that dealt No. 1 Bluestone High School its only district loss Friday, 53-39.

Heading into Monday’s game, Mosby said, “I think we’re pretty much finding our stride right now. Of course, we were pretty close with Goochland up until the last minute of (that) game. We were down by three with a minute left … But I think we’re playing well right now. We’ve still got room for improvement, especially on the defensive end.”

The Dukes host Bluestone on Friday at 7 p.m.

Buckingham (8-9) fell 73-54 to host Goochland on Monday. The Knights visited Bluestone on Tuesday and host Fuqua School on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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