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February 10, 2013

Norview Punches Regional Ticket

Pilots Punch their Ticket: Playing in front of their home crowd, the third-seeded Norview Pilots survived in the Eastern District Tournament quarterfinals, edging Booker T. Washington 50-48 as a potential game-winning three-pointer rimmed out for the sixth-seeded Bookers.

"I'm glad he missed the shot because it came down to the wire when we played them at Booker T. the last time," admitted Norview Head Basketball Coach Jonathan Wilson. "Guys played hard and this time we were on the upper end of the victory."

Norview got swept by Booker T. during the regular season. At 9-14 overall, the Pilots become the first team with a losing record to clinch a regional playoff berth at the Group AAA level this season. The loss for the Bookers marks the second straight season they missed regionals. Booker T. had made the State Tournament three times in a four year stretch from 2006-09 and got to the regional semifinals back in 2011.

Player of the Game:
Norview senior Stephen Scarborough. It was hard to choose just one player for the Pilots since it was such a collective effort with no player scoring in double-figures. The 6-foot-4 forward has been the key since he became eligible and one of the reasons they take a four-game winning streak into the district tournament semifinals against Maury on Wednesday.

Scarborough finished with nine points and nine rebounds, utilizing his length, athleticism and size to make an imprint on the game. His best move all night came on a gorgeous give-and-go play where he threw down a jam to energize the Norview fans as well as his teammates.

In a losing effort, also worthy of consideration were Booker T. Washington's Zain Upshur, a senior set to play his College Football at Towson, and junior Steven Whitley. Upshur ended up with a double-double, 16 points and 14 rebounds, collecting half of those boards on the offensive glass. Whitley added 13 points and eight boards, but was relatively quiet in the second half due to foul trouble after he scored nine of the Bookers' first 17 points.

Keys to Victory:

#1 - - Steals Lead to Buckets: It's rare that a Booker T. Washington team under the direction of Darren Sanderlin turns it over 20 times, but that's what happened on Saturday afternoon. Norview came up with 18 steals, scoring numerous buckets off those turnovers. Five players had multiple steals in the game, including four apiece from seniors D'Shaun Thomas and Raekwon Johnson.

By turning the Bookers over, it prevented them from setting up their half-court offense and going to Upshur in the low block or isolating Whitley in some one-on-one matchups that he exploited in the first half.

"We said that we've got to take pride in playing defense," Wilson commented. "All the teams that are coming down now making it to regional play are going to be tough, they're going to have some Division I players and we're going to have to defend. If we can defend, we'll be in every game that we play. The guys are buying into the defense and offensively that's going to come."

#2 - - Bench Play: For the game, Norview's reserves outscored Booker T. Washington's 18-11. That might not seem like much, but in a tight, lower scoring contest than the previous two times they met, it certainly made a difference.

"Last year, we had go-to players. Those guys could get their own basket when they wanted to. This year, the team is a go-to player," Wilson remarked. "We have to feed off each other and make each other better. You never know who's going to give us what on any night, so that makes us competitive."

#3 - - Kept BTW Off the Foul Line: Booker T. only went to the foul line 13 times, resulting in one of their smallest outputs of the season from the charity stripe. Norview got there 16 times and made 10. None of the Bookers' starting guards got to the line once, perhaps the most amazing stat of the game.

Wilson pointed to the Pilots' defensive effort and denying Upshur the ball in the low block as major factors in pulling out a hard-fought win.

"When we played them at their place, they went to the line about 35 times and Zain had about 26 points. He killed us," Wilson said. "You can't stop him because he's a strong kid, but minimizing him and just trying to contain him along with our defensive effort was the difference in the game."

Keep An Eye On: From the Class of 2016, a name to remember is Norview 6-foot-3 freshman guard Jaylen Frazier. Long with a slender build and pretty athletic, Frazier had four points, three boards and four steals as a starter. While the numbers weren't overwhelming, he was recently tabbed co-Eastern District Newcomer of the Year.

His last name may be familiar to basketball fans in the Eastern District. That's because he's the younger brother of former Maury standout Sim Frazier, now a starting guard in the MEAC at Howard University. Jaylen is sure to leave his mark on the area like his older brother did before he graduates.

Postgame Audio with Norview's Jonathan Wilson

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 updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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