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January 19, 2013
11:45 PM: Well, another fun day of basketball has come to an end at the Fifth Annual William Lawson Classic at Petersburg HS. Be sure to check back for more from the event from my colleague Will Garlick.
Below are the Final Stats from L.C. Bird's 67-60 come-from-behind victory over Petersburg.
Bird avenges their regional semifinal loss to Petersburg from a year ago with the win and now gears up for a critical week, where they will take on James River and Cosby, the two teams they are battling with for the Dominion District regular season title.
11:00 PM: It is now over and the L.C. Bird Skyhawks have defeated the Petersburg Crimson Wave in the finale at the William Lawson Classic to move to 12-2 overall. Petersburg drops to 10-7 overall. Needless to say it was a very spirited, competitive battle to the end.
FINAL - - L.C. BIRD 67, PETERSBURG 60
Kenny Williams led the way for Bird with 25 points. More reaction and Final Numbers to come . . . stay tuned!
10:50 PM: Petersburg ties the game back at 60 with 1:03 to go on Gevon Arrington's basket; he's been oh so clutch tonight. L.C. Bird gets a free-throw from Thomas Taylor to back ahead, and then Malik Johnson comes up with a steal, gets fouled and hits 1-of-2. Johnson and Carlos Thrash have been real pests in this Bird defense, causing Petersburg to turn the ball over regularly in the fourth quarter.
L.C. Bird leads it 62-60 with 32 seconds left, but Petersburg has a shot still. Well, not so much now as Kenny Williams gets a steal on the Wave's ninth turnover of the quarter, leading to a bucket and a foul. Williams pushes the Bird lead up to 65-60 with 24 seconds to go.
10:45 PM: Energizing the defense for L.C. Bird right now is Malik Johnson, sophomore guard and younger brother of former Skyhawks standout Robert Johnson, who's now at Benedictine. His steal and lay-up knot the score at 56 approaching the 3 minute mark. Another good take by Earl Adams for Petersburg, sliding his way past defenders to the basket for a deuce to put Petersburg back up.
Kenny Williams ties the score at 58 and then a long missed three-pointer by Petersburg, rebound by the little guy C.J. Miles turns into a lay-up by Ty Wallace, his first points of the night with 1:55 remaining to give Bird the lead back at 60-58.
10:40 PM: Defense fuels offense, and in the case of L.C. Bird, it has taken them from behind seven only 25 seconds into the fourth quarter up a point, 52-51 with 5:49 to play following steals by Carlos Thrash and Javonte Reddick leading to Kenny Williams buckets. Thrash and Malik Johnson served as the middle men on assists on the break.
Petersburg has to be able to take care of the ball against this Bird press because if they don't, they're going to lose a heart-breaker. Coach Rick Hite of Petersburg spoke to me earlier in the day about how they have to be able to cut down on the number of their turnovers, but more importantly the ones that lead to easy buckets on the other end in order to win the Capital District and make a playoff push.
Earl Adams has settled down the Crimson Wave in the half-court and Petersburg is back in the lead at 55-52 with 4:05 to play.
10:35 PM: Moments into the fourth quarter, Frankie Barksdale delivers a crucial three-pointer for Petersburg to push their advantage up to seven at 51-44. L.C. Bird is known for its outside shooting much more than Petersburg, but the two teams are even in makes from beyond the arc, three apiece.
Bird has made four straight free-throws, slowing the game down just a pinch to where they are only one possession behind, 51-48 with 6:19 to play. The more they can get Williams and Reddick to the foul line, the better their odds are of a comeback. Meanwhile, Petersburg is trying to move to 5-0 in the Lawson Classic.
10:30 PM: A phenomenal play and what presence of mind by Petersburg sophomore guard Gemonta Jackson at the 1:40 mark of the third quarter as he was falling out of bounds, got a steal and threw the ball behind his back, yet up ahead to a teammate, Gevon Arrington, for a fast-break bucket to push the Crimson Wave lead to 46-40.
L.C. Bird can't seem to get either of their two main scoring threats, senior guard JaVonte Reddick or sophomore wing Kenny Williams, on track after a nice first period. Credit the Petersburg defense for making some adjustments and not letting those guys get clean catch-and-shoot opportunities. Frankie Barksdale connects on a jumper for Petersburg right before the end of the third quarter.
End of 3rdQ - - Petersburg 48, L.C. Bird 42
To be able to hold on, Petersburg will have to keep Williams and Reddick off the foul line in crunch time.
10:20 PM: With 3:43 to play in the third quarter, Petersburg is in front 42-35 against L.C> Bird, which came in with a record of 11-2 overall and one of the top ranked teams in the state. A victory here in front of the home faithful would serve them very well as they get ready for the homestretch in the Central District.
Petersburg is doing a terrific job of isolating Gevon Arrington in the right spots on the floor, particularly getting him to move without the ball going towards the painted area where he's getting favorable matchups. Perhaps the State of the Night to this point is that 10 different players have scored for Petersburg, which is getting excellent balance.
Sophomore guard C.J. Miles is heating up for L.C. Bird in this third quarter with five points and really become their main source of offense along with Malik Johnson, a tiny guard that is making plays off the dribble and via the pass as well.
10:15 PM: In the second half, L.C. Bird needs to maximize JaVonte Reddick's touches and shot opportunities. He got a cut in the first half and had to go out for a while, but made 3-of-4 shots in the first half and could be a difference maker over the final two quarters if he can get hot.
Bird begins the second half going to the big man, Thomas Taylor and he converts. Petersburg answers with Gevon Arrington following a miss for two.
The Wave are certainly one tough cookie to make crumble in this building, a place they seldom ever lose in and their offense is performing about as well against a quality opponent tonight as it has all year, getting contributions from several different players. The unsung hero for them in the first half was sophomore guard Gemonta Jackson, who didn't score but played steady defense and handed out four assists.
10:05 PM: Momentum riding with the Crimson Wave here at Petersburg High School as they close the first half on an 18-3 run over the last 3:14 to go from down 10 to up five. An improbable sequence of events, and the only fortunate part for L.C. Bird in their terrible finish to the half is they have two quarters to make up for it, but Petersburg played with a lot of passion, energy and hustle during that stretch.
Buckets by Marius Watson and Frankie Barksdale tied the score late in the half, and then James Byers scored and was fouled to give the Wave the lead with eight seconds to go. Byers missed the free-throw, but Khalid Morris (5 points, 3 boards off the pine) was Johnny on the Spot by grabbing two offensive boards, following his miss and scoring while drawing a foul.
At the Half - - Petersburg 36, L.C. Bird 31
'Ain't No Stopping Us Now,' one of the all-time classics, is being played over the loudspeaker at Petersburg High (so picture in your head me bobbing my head as I type this Blog!).
Couple quick numbers of note - - Petersburg had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, most of them coming in the second period, and they turned it over only once in the second quarter, while all three of Bird's second quarter turnovers led to Petersburg points. Bird didn't turn it over once in the first quarter. Gevon Arrington has 9 points and 7 boards for Petersburg. Bird is led by Kenny Williams' 12 points and JaVonte Reddick has chipped in 6.
9:55 PM: As long as L.C. Bird doesn't fall in love with the three-point shot to where it could lead to some Petersburg transition buckets, the Skyhawks will go into the half with a multiple possession lead on the road, something they'll gladly take since this is one of the most challenging environments to play at in the state.
But a Bird lead that was 10 with 3:15 to go in the second quarter has been sliced in half I on ly a span of 1:01, and a Quadree Walker rebound off a missed free-throw turns into a lay-up by Marius Watson at the other end, followed by a Bird turnover and Gevon Arrington steal. Arrington gets fouled and just like that Petersburg can pull within two with 1:52 to go in the period.
Major props to sophomore forward Khalid Morris for coming off the bench with hustle and energy, giving Petersburg a spark and one of their starters a breather. Petersburg has raised its defensive intensity and a bad spell of play has Bird just trying to get to half-time with a lead instead of up double-figures. That's a big change.
9:50 PM: Just what Petersburg didn't need was fouling Kenny Williams on a three-pointer. Calm and composed, Williams drains all three to extend the Bird lead to 20-11 early in the second quarter. But what Petersburg really needed was a three-pointer to fall to make up for it and they got that from Frankie Barksdale, the Dinwiddie transfer who has the ability to score some in bunches.
Right now the rebounding battle is a wash, which is a plus for Petersburg given that Bird has 6-foot-7 sophomore Thomas Taylor in the middle. While the Wave are dribbling into traffic a good deal, 6-foot-3 junior Gevon Arrington has bailed them out a couple times with timely buckets. The Skyhawks are still in control in this one, leading 25-18 with just under four minutes to go in the second quarter. Check that, now 28-18 Bird after a Williams three-pointer; he's now got 12 points.
9:40 PM: Through quarter of play in the nightcap of the William Lawson Classic, L.C. Bird leads Petersburg 15-11. Most impressively is the fact that Bird didn't turn the ball over one time that period and did a fairly effective job of pressuring the basketball on defense, much to the delight of Coach Troy Manns I imagine.
Rick Hite's Crimson Wave are getting better offensive efficiency than they have been, but their defense must be able to solve this puzzle of Kenny Williams and JaVonte Reddick, a 1-2 punch on the perimeter that has already accounted for 10 points for Bird and likely won't be slowing down.
9:30 PM: We are underway in the final game of the Fifth Annual William Lawson Classic at Petersburg High School between the host Crimson Wave (10-6) and the visiting L.C. Bird Skyhawks (11-2; 7-1). Big thanks to Jimmy Tynes and Johnny Pope for having me on their pre-game show and you can check out their work on urbanpetersburg.com and WTPS AM 1240.
Now to the action on the court and L.C. Bird sophomore Kenny Williams has scored six of the first 10 points for the Skyhawks, clinging to a 10-9 lead with 3:37 to go in the first quarter. Williams is not only athletic and a great slasher, but he's got terrific court awareness and is smooth. Senior guard JaVonte Reddick, who earlier in the week had 31 points and seven treys in a game, nails a pair of jumpers, utilizing the pump-fake for one.
Petersburg has come out clicking well offensively to start, much more than the last couple of times I've seen them live. Gevon Arrington has a couple of early field goals and Kaimonne Douglas banked a three-pointer, followed by a driving lay-up from Earl Adams. If the Wave can reduce the number of turnovers they've had, this team will be a handful for anyone come tourney time.
8:40 PM: It is a near packed to capacity crowd here at Petersburg High School in the William Lawson Classic and they're watching their former star with the Crimson Wave, Frank Mason, now with Massanutten Military Academy play his final game in this gymnasium. Mason, of course, will go on to play his College Basketball at Kansas in the Big 12.
There are several, and I do mean several, next-level, physically well-built players in this game, which Massanutten leads over Queen City Prep (NC) 47-37 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the contest. When this one is done, it'll be the host Petersburg Crimson Wave (10-6; 7-2) taking on the L.C. Bird Skyhawks (11-2; 7-1) in the nightcap.
7:10 PM: It's now in the books, and the John Marshall Justices have defeated the Green Run Stallions to improve their record to 13-3 overall. Green Run drops to 13-5 overall.
FINAL SCORE - - JOHN MARSHALL 67, GREEN RUN 57
Some Final Stats of note . . .
Stay tuned, we've got two more games to come. One more game we'll be blogging about and that's the nightcap between the host Petersburg Crimson Wave and the L.C. Bird Skyhawks in the William Lawson Classic!
7:05 PM: With 36 seconds left, John Marshall looks to be in good shape, ahead 64-57 on Green Run as they have gotten solid play inside with Brian White, the Citadel signee, producing a double-double as well as steady play from point guard Gee Dean-McBride running the team, creating shots for himself and others.
Off the bench, freshman Jeremy Sheppard has put up 11 points and the Justices are much crisper offensively than they were at this time a month ago, a sign that they could be a force to be reckoned with come tournament time in the Central Region.
On the Green Run side of things, the Stallions are going to fall to 13-5 overall, but every game to this point that they've lost has been by six points or less, so they're not too far off from being a threat in the Eastern Region. Many of their flaws and errors are correctable.
6:55 PM: To start the fourth quarter, Green Run is starting to generate some easy points off turnovers. Keon Buchanan finds freshman Sterling Carrington inside for the deuce and Lequan Thomas kicks it out to Jamaal Matin for a three-pointer. All of the sudden, that John Marshall lead of 15 over Green Run is down to eight at 53-45 with 5:56 remaining . . . and the Stallions have as many points this quarter than they had in the entire third quarter.
John Marshall continues to get high-percentage looks at the rim and I don't see them blowing this lead completely as long as that keeps up because the Justices score points in bunches so well.
6:50 PM: The Justices from John Marshall appear to be on their way to 13-3 overall as they closed the third quarter on a 16-5 flurry with Gee Dean-McBride driving and dishing for his seventh assist, finding Aaron McCrae for a three-pointer. Green Run can't get quite enough easy baskets to make this thing close, and they've been to the foul line only four times, also compounding matters.
Dean-McBride has 10 points and six boards to go with his dimes. Freshman Jeremy Sheppard is giving JM a lift off the bench with 8 points as well. Keon Buchanan is leading Green Run with 11 points thus far.
6:45 PM: John Marshall is back in firm control as freshman guard Jeremy Sheppard shows the sweet shooting touch and some range, nailing his second shot from behind the arc to push the Justices' advantage to 37-28 on Green Run. They follow that up with Gee Dean-McBride's penetration, resulting in a bucket for himself and his sixth assist, finding teammate and standout forward Brian White.
Ty White's Justices are ahead 41-28 with 2:33 to go in the third quarter and Kenneth Harris' Stallions need a strong finish going to the fourth period or else JM will slowly but surely pull away here. Their defense must trigger some easy baskets off turnovers because they're finding it too hard to score in the half-court against JM with their guards having subpar shooting performances thus far.
6:35 PM: To start the second half, John Marshall adds to its lead with a jumper from Quaman Burton; he has knocked down a couple of key open shots for the Justices, now ahead double-figures. Green Run comes right back with Keon Buchanan nailing a three-pointer to cut the deficit down to 32-24.
The biggest adjustment Green Run needs to make is probably offensively, not settling for as many jumpers and defensively try to contain Brian White without fouling much. John Marshall has to continue to keep Stallions point guard Lequan Thomas out of the paint and make him give it up sooner than he wants, plus crowd Buchanan's space better.
The Stallions are on a mini run as Jamaal Matin scores to follow Tyler Blount's first field goal and the JM lead is down to 32-28 nearing the 5 minute mark.
6:20 PM: Just when Green Run thought they were clawing back in it behind athletic Class of 2014 wing Keon Buchanan (6 points, an assist and 3 steals this half, playing aggressive and under control), the Stallions can't hit a game-tying three-pointer and John Marshall makes them pay by going on a run.
Instead of being tied at 21-apiece late in the half, John Marshall goes on a 9-1 spurt that begins with Nate Williams scoring off a Gee Dean-McBride drive. Citadel signee Brian White delivers down low against Green Run's Shaun James, who played good D' that possession, it was just better offense. Quaman Burton then strikes with a three-pointer.
At the Half - - John Marshall 30, Green Run 21
White is leading the way for the Justices with 10 points, three boards, while Dean-McBride has supplied 8 points, 4 boards and 5 assists. The Justices are 11-of-21 from the field compared to 8-for-25 for Green Run. The Stallions got 8 points from Buchanan and 6 points from Jamaal Matin. To rally, they'll need their backcourt of Tyler Blount (18.2PPG) and Lequan Thomas to step it up; they're only 1-of-10 from the floor with four points combined.
6:15 PM: At the end of the opening quarter, John Marshall leads Green Run 16-9 and really have clamped down well defensively on the Stallions, limiting them to 3-of-9 shooting. More than anything else though, they are playing inside-out, getting the ball to Brian White down low and drawing fouls. They're also getting sophomore Nate Williams, who's 6-foot-6, ample minutes in this first half.
Green Run is settling a bit too much for the outside jumper and will need to start driving more with point guard Lequan Thomas. Right now, guard Gee Dean-McBride is being very assertive attacking the Stallions off the dribble and providing the Justices with instant offense. JM's first three-pointer from freshman Jeremy Sheppard allows them to push the lead to 21-14 with 4:31 to go until half-time.
6:05 PM: With their offense off to a somewhat sluggish start, Green Run gets a pick-me-up from three-point land by junior wing Jamaal Matin to cut the John Marshall lead down to one with two minutes to go in the opening quarter.
John Marshall answers with a couple smooches off the glass by Dominique Terry and Gee Dean-McBride. If the Justices' guards play consistent and make good decisions, this team will be an extremely tough out in the playoffs.
5:55 PM: Well after a long delay with John Marshall being stuck on the highway we're finally underway between the Justices and Green run Stallions at Petersburg HS in the William Lawson Classic.
Right away, John Marshall is making a point to get the ball inside to Citadel signee Brian White, one of the best low post forces in the Central Region and the state for that matter. White scores the game's first four points to bolt the Justices out to the early lead. Green run comes right back with an athletic move going to the rim by junior wing Keon Buchanan to slice the lead in half.
Not good news for Green Run is the fact that freshman post player Sterling Carrington, who got the starting nod today, picked up two quick fouls only 24 seconds into the action. That brings in Shaun James off the bench and the Stallions will need both him and sophomore Kevin Holmes to keep White at bay without getting in foul trouble themselves.
5:30 PM: It's now in the books and the Brunswick Bulldogs keep their stellar season going with another quality victory over the Thomas Edison Eagles here the William Lawson Classic at Petersburg High School, moving their record to 14-2 overall. Edison drops to 6-9 overall, but the Eagles figure to be a factor in both the National District and Northern Region before it's all said and done.
FINAL SCORE - - BRUNSWICK 62, EDISON 47
Some Final Stats of note . . .
Let's just say the Stith's stole the show.
Next up, it's the John Marshall Justices (12-3; 10-1) versus the Green Run Stallions (13-4; 4-2) in what could be a potential State Tournament quarterfinal matchup.
5:00 PM: Thomas Edison would be even closer than they are right now, trailing Brunswick 55-43 with 3:08 to go if their three-point shooting was a smidge better. The Eagles are 2-of-15 from deep, but guards Chief Amoah, Markus Brumsey and Lasalle Mensah have done a really sound job of driving to the cup considering how well Brunswick plays defense.
In that third quarter, Brunswick held Edison to just six points and only two field goals. The Bulldogs were over-passing early on, but they've found their groove and been very patient, taking care of the basketball ever since that slow start.
By the way, please forgive me for any spelling errors, the band is deafening in here at times so thinking and typing simultaneously can be quite a task.
4:50 PM: Three quarters in the books and Brunswick leads Edison 49-38 in the second game at the William Lawson Classic. Brandan Stith and B.J. Stith have combined for 28 points, 10 boards and five assists, affecting the game in so many ways.
Next up after this one, it's the Central Region taking on the Eastern Region with the John Marshall Justices playing the Green Run Stallions. It's a re-match from the Championship of the Hampton Roads Fall League, where John Marshall edged Green Run in double-overtime.
4:45 PM: To start the third quarter, Brunswick picks up where they left off, and in addition to the strong inside play of Brandan Stith (ECU) and all-around gifts on the perimeter of B.J. Stith (UVA), Isreal Stith is making things happen, displaying great body control. Brandan makes a terrific move along the baseline and that pushes the Bulldogs' lead to 41-36 nearing the midway point of the second period.
Edison isn't going away quietly and Markus Brumsey connects on a mid-range jumper to keep the Eagles close. Brunswick is so fundamentally sound and they aren't giving Edison any second chance opportunities when they do miss. Edison has only three offensive boards and they aren't really deep, so fatigue may set in during the fourth quarter.
Brunswick is up nine with 1:30 to go in the third quarter and Edison needs to close the quarter strong because a double-digit deficit is hard to overcome versus the Bulldogs because they don't make a whole lot of mistakes.
4:35 PM: We've reached half-time in the second game at the Lawson Classic and it's turning out to be a really competitive, interesting battle between the Brunswick Bulldogs and Thomas Edison Eagles.
HALF - - Brunswick 35, Edison 32
Some quick numbers of note . . . Brandan Stith has 12 points, four jams and four boards to lead the way for the Bulldogs. B.J. Stith goes to the break with 10 points, four boards and three assists. For Edison, their guards are keeping them in the game with Chief Amoah's 11 points, Lasalle Mensah's 8 points and Markus Brumsey's 6 points. Edison also has only five turnovers.
4:25 PM: Thomas Edison is weathering another Brunswick run as guard Markus Brumey gets some 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the crowd with a crossover move to the cup and finish, followed by Lasalle Mensah notching a steal and deuce to trim the Bulldogs' lead to 25-24. Earlier in the quarter when it appeared Brunswick was able to distance themselves some from the Eagles, Drew Lakey nailed an important three-pointer.
The Edison guards are doing a good job of getting into the lane and creating contact and scoring opportunities in the paint. Against a team with the size and talent of Brunswick, who's not your ordinary AA squad and an always well-prepared bunch under Coach Bryant Stith, that's a positive sign for the Eagles. A tear-drop by Chief Amoah cuts the Brunswick lead to 31-28 until the Stith brothers go to work - - UVA commit B.J. Stith first with a great, instinctive attack move to the cup, and then East Carolina commit Brandan Stith with another flush on a lob, his fourth of the half.
4:20 PM: The second quarter is underway and Edison seems to have recovered fairly well. They can't quite get their other standout junior guard, Markus Brumsey, on point just yet as he is just 1-for-5 from the field and will need him to get hot to keep pace. The speed of the game is picking up and that seems to favor Brunswick, which is also getting much more active defensively, shooting the passing lanes and using their physicality to their advantage.
Isreal Stith is giving the Bulldogs quite a lift with his defense and passing as he now has two assists and three steals, providing some punch in the backcourt. Brunswick now lads it 22-20 as we tick under the 5 minute mark of the second period.
4:10 PM: Our second game of the day in the Lawson Classic is underway between the defending Group AA State Champion Brunswick Bulldogs, coached by former UVA standout and NBA player Bryant Stith, and the Thomas Edison Eagles, who made it to the Group AAA State Tournament quarterfinals last year under Coach Terry Henderson.
Out of the gate, Edison jumps out to a 7-4 lead thanks to junior guard Chief Amoah, showing off some slick moves going to the basket. Amoah scored seven of Edison's first nine points and Brunswick has come out over passing just a bit, whereas Edison is mixing it up well defensively with their 2-3 zone defense, trapping along the sideline and making the Bulldogs work for those points.
Brandan Stith has thrown down a couple of nice, forceful two-handed jams to bring Brunswick back. Stith will play his College Basketball at East Carolina, and as I've noted many times before, is the perfect description of 'mid-major skills, high-major motor.' His younger brother, junior B.J. Stith, is set to play his College Basketball at UVA. B.J. knots the score at 15 to end the first period with a three-pointer, his second of the quarter.
3:45 PM: In the first game of the day, the Phoebus Phantoms bounced back from a loss the night before to Heritage in the Peninsula District by recording a much-needed out-of-district victory, 73-61 over Cesar Chavez from Washington, D.C.
FINAL SCORE - - PHOEBUS 73, CESAR CHAVEZ 61
Leading the way for Phoebus, Josh Davis scored 25 points with 19 coming in the first half. Davis added a career-high 22 rebounds as well. Howard signee James Daniel III scored 20 points. Khaaliq Fletcher came close to a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
The Phantoms led from wire to wire and were in front by 19 to start the fourth quarter. With the win, Phoebus is now 9-6 overall. Earlier in the week, the Phantoms took down Kecoughtan, ranked #1 in the latest AAA Hoops State Top 25.
Phoebus definitely has three explosive scoring weapons in Davis, Daniel and Fletcher that can strike at any time. Davis' athleticism has been impressive, going back to our Fifth Annual VirginiaPreps.com Classic two weeks ago at Virginia Wesleyan College. As long as he continues to put up numbers like that, he'll start to garner more interest for the next level.
3:30 PM: We are Blogging LIVE from the William Lawson Classic at Petersburg High School as Will Garlick and myself are taking in some exciting basketball action, featuring some marquee players and teams from different parts of the state.
If you want to check out more on the event, see this link that went up earlier.
In the meantime, stay tuned for updates and observations throughout the weekend from this event and be sure to Follow HatfieldSports on Twitter for scores and notes as well!
Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related info and updates. To contact Matthew, please e-mail email@example.com, and don't forget to listen to High School Sports Talk every Saturday from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1 and watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report
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