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February 20, 2013

LIVE Wednesday Blog at Scope!

10:52 PM: Night One of the Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinals at the Norfolk Scope is in the books and we'll be back for a second day. Here are the Final Scores from the games below as the Picks were a perfect 4-0, bringing my total to 39-5 since the start of regional play across the state in AAA Hoops.

Boys Quarters Final - - Hampton 50, Landstown 49 (OT)
Boys Quarters Final - - Great Bridge 54, Maury 42
Girls Quarters Final - - Princess Anne 70, Wilson 38
Girls Quarters Final - - Maury 51, Western Branch 42

That means on Sunday in the regional semifinals, it'll be Girls Hoops action with Princess Anne vs. Maury at 2:00 PM followed by Boys Hoops action with Great Bridge vs. Hampton at 4:00 PM.

For tomorrow, here's the slate . . .

2:00 PM (Girls) - - #1 Woodside (25-1) vs. #3 Grassfield (21-4)
4:00 PM (Girls) - - #1 Lake Taylor (23-0) vs. #2 King's Fork (23-3)
6:00 PM (Boys) - - #3 Western Branch (18-8) vs. #1 Kecoughtan (23-4)
8:00 PM (Boys) - - #1 Norcom (17-7) vs. #2 King's Fork (22-4)

Be sure to keep it tuned to VirginiaPreps.com for Recaps and much, much more in the coming days, and we'll return on Thursday with the LIVE BLOG!

10:30 PM: We got our first dramatic ending and buzzer-beater of this Eastern Region Tournament at the Norfolk Scope in the nightcap of Wednesday's quarterfinals. The reigning State Champion Hampton Crabbers survived and move a win away from returning to the State Tournament after outlasting a determined Landstown Eagles team that left it all on the floor 36 minutes.

Some Final Numbers below courtesy of Mike Whittington & STATVA (www.statva.com).

Final Stats:

Hampton Crabbers 50: (22-6 Overall)
Anthony 'Cat' Barber - - 21Pts. 6-21FG, 9-12Ft, 7Reb. 3Ast. 3Stl.
Jordan Baker - - 12Pts. 4-15FG, GW FG, 1-6 3's, 3-4FT, 4Reb. 2Ast. 5Stl.
Tre Perry - - 8Pts. 4-6FG, 13Reb.
Sammie Royal - - 5Pts. 1-4FG, 3-6FT, 5Reb.
Crabbers - - 17-56FG, 1-12 3's, 15-22FT, 41Reb. 5Ast. 17TO's, 9Stl.

Landstown Eagles 49: (21-6 Overall)
Sebastian Sandifer - - 13Pts. 5-10FG, 3-5 3's, 2Reb.
Malcolm Worthy - - 12Pts. 5-8FG, 2-2FT, 2Reb.
Jordan Roberson - - 9Pts. 3-5FG, 3-4FT, 3Reb. 6Ast.
Darius Bolstad - - 8Pts. 4-6FG, 4Reb. 4Blk.

Postgame Audio with Hampton Coach Eric Brown
Postgame Audio with Hampton's Jordan Baker

Once again, the Hampton Crabbers came through in the clutch and got it done, thanks to Baker. It was an absolutely gut-wrenching, heart-breaking loss for Landstown, a program that always contenders under Coach Robinson and will be back, I dare say even better next year when they will make a serious run at a state title in my opinion. The Eagles played arguably a better game and were just as deserving to win.

On the stat sheet, what stand out are the 20 turnovers they had. Yes, they shot 47.6% from the field compared to Hampton's 30.4% and limited the Crabbers to 30.4% from the field, but they got to the foul line 15 fewer times and got beat on the boards, 41-24 in favor of Hampton. That rebounding advantage they had against Nansemond River two nights earlier wasn't quite there in this one.

It sets up an intriguing Hampton vs. Great Bridge matchup where it will be billed by many as Barber vs. Evans, but the game to me will come down to inside play. Four quarters might not be enough to settle that one either.

Back with some Final Thoughts and a Wrap-Up in a few!

9:34 PM: With 8.4 seconds to go, Cameron Alston heads to the foul line for Landstown, leading 49-48 on defending State Champion Hampton here in the Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinals at the Norfolk Scope. Alston misses the free-throw.

Hampton's Jordan Baker races up the court, drive to the hole and makes the game-winner, doing so falling down with 1.4 seconds to go. Time runs out and the Crabbers win. Another memorable, clutch moment for Jordan Baker, the Big Shot Maker and ODU signee of the Crabbers, who last year delivered with a crucial steal and three-pointer for the Crabbers against Nansemond River in the regional quarters at Scope.

BOYS QUARTERS FINAL (OT) - - HAMPTON 50, LANDSTOWN 49

Final Stats and more to come - - don't go anywhere!

9:30 PM: With 25 seconds to go, Landstown's Jordan Roberson makes a pair of free-throws to give the Eagles a 49-47 lead. Hampton comes right back with Jordan Baker driving, dumping it off to Sammie Royal and he is fouled. Royal will shoot two free-throws with 13.5 seconds left in OT.

Royal misses the first free-throw, but makes the second and that cuts the Landstown lead to 49-48 here in OT. It'll be the Eagles' ball coming out of a time-out, and as long as they don't turn it over and can sink free-throws, they'll move on to Sunday's regional semifinals against Southeastern District #1 seed Great Bridge.

9:28 PM: The defending State Champs are on the ropes. Can Landstown deliver the knockout punch on Hampton? Point guard Jordan Roberson is fouled with 48 seconds to go and the Eagles up three, but he misses the front-end of a one-and-one.

A couple of clutch free-throws by ODU signee Jordan Baker lets Hampton breathe a little sigh of relief because the score is now tied at 47-apiece. However, the Crabbers know their season is hanging by a thread, especially after star Anthony 'Cat' Barber is whistled for his fourth foul with 25.1 seconds to go in OT. That'll send Landstown to the foul line.

9:24 PM: To start overtime, Landstown scores first as Darius Bolstad misses (might be his first miss of the night), but sophomore Malcolm Worthy is there to clean t up with some second chance points. Hampton comes right back as Anthony 'Cat' Barber has his shot blocked by Bolstad and then he gets the put-back to tie it up at 44-all.

Maybe the biggest shot of the game, Landstown's season and Sebastian Sandifer's career is drained on a three-pointer in the corner. With that, the Eagles take the lead 47-44 as we tick under two minutes to go in OT. Hampton misses at the other end, but Landstown can't increase the lead as they miss a good look inside. Sammie Royal makes 1-2FT's and the Crabbers trail 47-45 with 1:24 to go.

This could be a wild finish folks, stay tuned!

9:18 PM: On the inbounds play it is Sammie the Bull, Sammie Royal, potentially saving the day for the Hampton Crabbers and then Anthony 'Cat' Barber is fouled. Barber makes 2FT's to push the Crabbers lead to 42-39.

Landstown's little guy, point guard Jordan Roberson, ties the score with 33.6 seconds to go on a basket, plus is fouled, and he connects on the free-throw to make it 42-all. Hampton will try to hold it for the last shot and with about five seconds on the clock, Barber pulls the trigger on a long three-pointer that is way off the mark. The ball goes out of bounds and it'll be Landstown inbounding it with 0.7 seconds to go.

Barring a miraculous shot or foul, we're headed for OT. And overtime we go.

Landstown 42, Hampton 42 - - OT. Let's have some extra fun and play four more minutes!

9:13 PM: Coming out of the time-out, it appears that Hampton has switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense, and that invites a three-point shot attempt for Landstown, which is off the mark. Anthony 'Cat' Barber is fouled and the NC State signee drills a couple with 2:15 left to play to put the Crabbers up 39-37.

How will Landstown respond? The Eagles tie it up at 39 on Cameron Alston's mid-range jumper. Barber is fouled on a jumper and that draws the ire of Landstown's Dwight Robinson as his crew thinks that was a questionable call. What nobody can question is the fact that both teams have turned it over a lot in this one, a defensive battle with each team under 40 late in the fourth quarter.

Barber makes 1-2FT's. Hampton leads it 40-39, but it's Landstown ball with 51.9 seconds to go and Coach Robinson will get a time-out. Look for them to probably try and feed it into the post to either Darius Bolstad or Andre Stanley.

9:07 PM: In a span of four possessions, Hampton turns it over three times, but a missed three-pointer by Landstown gives the Crabbers a chance to take the lead with under three minutes to go. Anthony 'Cat' Barber draws to the basket, draws contact, yet no foul is called as the Eagles deny him in the paint. The Eagles have the ball with 2:37 to play and it's still knotted up at 37.

Coach Walter Brower of Hampton is giving one of the referees the classic icy stare, unhappy with the no-call. Foul or no foul, one thing must be said and that is Landstown has played excellent defense against two of the best guards in the state, one of whom is ranked among the top in the country.

9:02 PM: This is the time when the defending State Player of the Year shines and Anthony 'Cat' Barber just swiped the ball and got a lay-up to put Hampton ahead 36-32 on Landstown. But back comes Landstown with Sebastian Sandifer draining a three-pointer, then sophomore Malcolm Worthy with a great blow-by move for two as the Eagles take a 37-36 lead. With 4:52 to play, Hampton finds itself in another down-to-the-wire quarterfinal game like last season. Will they get the bounces to go their way this time, though?

Jordan Baker splits a pair of free-throws, and on two of the last three possessions, Hampton is the team turning it over. The score is tied at 37-all with under four minutes to play and the defending State Champs are in some serious trouble with the Beach District Champs, a team that graduated four starters from a season ago.

8:56 PM: To close the third quarter, Hampton keeps Landstown from tying the score or taking the lead as Anthony 'Cat' Barber scores inside, followed by another Eagles turnover. Through three periods of play, it's the defending State Champion Crabbers on top of Landstown 33-30.

Landstown will have to continue to defend at a high level and prevent Hampton's guards from getting in the teeth of the defense to pull off an upset, but without any easy run-outs or stopping the game by getting to the free-throw line, that's going to be a hard task to accomplish.

With 6:51 to play, it's Hampton up 34-32 on the Eagles.

8:51 PM: Turnovers starting to haunt the Eagles of Landstown now as they went from up 28-24 to down 29-28 with 2:58 to go in the third quarter following consecutive turnovers before crossing mid-court. Jordan Baker came up with two steals, scoring on one and Cyonte Melvin sticking in a miss for a deuce.

Landstown has to be careful these final 2-3 minutes of the third quarter with the big man Darius Bolstad on the bench because they could hit a dry spell that's a turning point in the game. To this point, Bolstad has been the difference maker in a game where he wasn't considered THE main threat going into this game for either team.

8:45 PM: To start the second half, Hampton's Anthony 'Cat' Barber, the seasoned senior, and Landstown's Darius Bolstad, the promising sophomore center, trade baskets. Bolstad swats a shot away and the Eagles are doing a really commendable job of contesting Hampton's shots at the rim.

Dwight Robinson will take a time-out just under the 6 minute mark of the third quarter with his Eagles ted up at 22-all with Hampton. The Eagles come out of the time-out and then go back to work, finding Bolstad inside and then getting a field goal from Sebastian Sandifer to grab a 26-22 lead. The Crabbers just look like a different team than the one that was hungry, feisty and battling for loose balls every possession a season ago.

8:38 PM: Some half-time stats from the Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinals between Hampton and Landstown, one team trying to grab win #22 on the season and move on to the regional semifinals on Sunday at 4 PM vs. Great Bridge (23-3), a 54-42 victor over Maury earlier tonight.

Hampton 20:

Landstown 20:
Sebastian Sandifer - - 5Pts. 2-4FG, 1-2 3's
Darius Bolstad - - 4Pts. 2-2FG, 2Reb.
Malcolm Worthy - - 4Pts. 1-2FG, 2-2FT
Eagles - - 8-16FG, 2-4 3's, 2-2FT, 11Reb.
6Ast. 12TO's

Hampton 20:
Jordan Baker - - 5Pts. 2-7FG, 1-4 3's, 3Reb. 2Ast. 3Stl.
Anthony 'Cat' Barber - - 4Pts. 2-6FG, 2Reb. 2Ast.
Sammie Royal - - 3Pts. 1-4FG, 1-2FT
Crabbers - - 9-24FG, 1-7 3's, 1-2FT, 13Reb. 4Ast. 9TO's

For Landstown to pull it out, they need to hit the offensive boards better in the second half. They got only three offensive boards and will need to get more to counter for the fact they have no fast-break points (i.e. easy buckets). The Eagles are doing a considerably good job of keeping Hampton's guards out of the paint/lane.

Neither team is getting to the foul line enough, but it has to be a major concern for Hampton since they were 1-for-7 from deep. I do think Hampton's guards will start to attack better in the second half and get more touches for Royal, plus be able to turn Landstown over, which they did 12 times in the first half. But an upset could occur; I wouldn't rule it out.

8:30 PM: We're deadlocked at 20 at intermission in another defensive battle.

For a moment there, it looked like Landstown was on the verge of being blown out when it trailed 16-8, but they have battled back and Dwight Robinson has to feel like his Eagles are in good shape with a shot at pulling the upset. Meanwhile, coaches Walter Brower and Eric Brown of Hampton can't be pleased that they didn't separate and close the half with a sense of urgency and purpose. Jordan Baker picked up his second foul late in the quarter and it felt like they got out-worked for a few possession that were critical in Landstown getting back in the game.

Hampton has the talent and Championship experience as well as mettle to close out strong. Remember, they were down several points in the fourth quarter in last year's quarterfinals at the Scope vs. Nansemond River when they went on their memorable run to winning a state title. Some half-time numbers in a bit

8:25 PM: Sebastian Sandifer cuts into the Hampton lead with a three-pointer, trimming the Crabbers' advantage to 18-13 nearing the 2 minute mark of the second quarter. A Hampton turnover following Malcolm Worthy's basket for Landstown has the Eagles within striking distance, down only 18-15 with 2:02 to go in the second period. Worthy hits both free-throws, and Hampton's lead is only 18-17 after it seemed like they may go up double-figures and have a shot at pulling away.

A three-pointer from Cameron Alston all of the sudden puts Landstown in the lead following a Hampton turnover; it's 20-18 in favor of the Eagles with 1:05 until half-time. The Crabbers look out of sync offensively, haven't gotten Anthony 'Cat' Barber on track offensively yet, and even though they got some hustle plays from Jordan Baker and Tre Perry, haven't sustained that in this first half.

8:21 PM: Hampton is playing some downright tough defense and has the Landstown offense bottled up completely. The Crabbers lead Landstown 16-8 with just under five minutes to go in the second quarter. NC State-bound guard Anthony 'Cat' Barber, the reigning State Player of the Year and marquee performer for the Crabbers, got his first points with 6:58 to go in the second quarter off a hustle play, a steal and assist from his teammate Jordan Baker.

Baker's hustle on the defensive end has resulted in a couple of Landstown turnovers. Right now, the Hampton backcourt has Landstown scratching its head to a certain extent. Even when the Crabbers turn it over, Tre Perry hustles for a block and then races down the other end for an offensive stick-back on Baker's miss.

8:14 PM: The move to the bench might've backfired for Landstown and now the Eagles have switched from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man, and now back to man-to-man. Sammie Royal gets some hustle points inside for Hampton, which he did so well in last year's postseason run. A big three-pointer from Jordan Baker (ODU signee) the big shot maker for the Crabbers extended their lead to 10-5 midway through the period.

At the end of the opening quarter, Hampton leads Landstown 12-8 and the Crabbers' coaching staff has to feel pretty good about the fact they are in the lead despite Anthony 'Cat' Barber not scoring a point. Barber is the Peninsula District career scoring leader, yet was 0-for-1 in that first quarter. You know he's going to get it turned around soon and put points up on the board in a hurry.

8:09 PM: Coach Dwight Robinson of the Landstown Eagles has to like the start for his team as they led Hampton 4-2 just passing the midway mark of the first quarter. The Eagles are controlling the backboards relatively speaking until Tre Perry, who just checked in off the bench for Daquin Moore (ODU football signee), gets a stick-back.

Six-foot-8 sophomore center Darius Bolstad has to early buckets for Landstown and the Eagles' size is certainly allowing them to get high-percentage shots inside. Another hoop in the paint for the Eagles by Andre Stanley and Landstown's in the lead 6-4 with 3:04 to go.

Robinson will go to his bench and bring in four new players in Jordan Roberson, Keanu Reuben, R.J. Nicholson and sophomore Malcolm Worthy. The reserves have to steady the Eagles much like they did vs. Nansemond River.

8:04 PM: The action is underway between the Hampton Crabbers (21-6), the #2 seed out of the Peninsula District, and the Beach District's top seed, the Landstown Eagles (21-5). A couple of quick keys to victory for each team . . .

For Landstown, they have to keep Hampton's two D-1 guards, Anthony 'Cat' Barber (NC State) and Jordan Baker (Old Dominion) out of the lane as well as crash the offensive rebounds and get double-digit second chance opportunities like they did in the opening round vs. Nansemond River.

For Hampton, it's stick the principles that have made them excellent in the past, which are unselfish play on the offensive end, making the extra pass and defensively keep everything in front of you and force Landstown to beat you with their guards and shooters rather than the two big men.

7:40 PM: We're about 25 minutes away from tip in the other quarterfinal matchup we'll have this evening between the Beach District Champion Landstown Eagles (21-5) and the reigning State Champion Hampton Crabbers (21-6). Before we get to that though, some quick order of business with the Final Stats from STATVA (www.statva.com) and Mr. Mike Whittington from Great Bridge's victory over Maury.

Final Stats:

Great Bridge Wildcats 54: (23-3 Overall)
Marcus Evans - - 14Pts. 6-18FG, 1-4 3's, 1-1FT, 12Reb. 6Ast. 3Stl.
Mark Madison - - 9Pts. 4-12FG, 1-5 3's, 2Reb. 4Ast.
Andre Banks - - 8Pts. 3-9FG, 2-3 3's
Steve Bienlien - - 8Pts. 2-5FG, 4-4FT, 10Reb. 4Blk.
Wildcats - - 22-58FG, 4-15 3's, 6-9FT, 43Reb. 11Ast. 7TO's

Maury Commodores 42: (21-5 Overall)
Shyheim Draughan - - 12Pts. 5-7FG, 2-4FT, 6Reb.
Anthony Williams - - 7Pts. 3-6FG, 4Reb.
Jaleel Ferguson - - 7Pts. 3-5FG, 1-6FT, 5Reb. 3Blk.
Mike Basnight - - 4Pts. 2-15FG, 7Reb. 5Ast. 4Stl.
Commodores - - 18-53FG, 2-13 3's, 4-12FT, 33Reb. 10Ast. 5TO's

Postgame Audio with Great Bridge Coach Gary Obenour

The Wildcats' strong finish to the game, outscoring Maury 23-11 in the fourth quarter, was the difference. They were able to get much better shots in the second half when they shot 48.4% compared to 25.9% in the first half. Banks' outside shooting gave them a cushion, while Bienlien crashed the glass and contested shots inside, and Evans filled the stat sheet despite not playing an outstanding game for his standards.

For Maury, the Commodores suffered their first loss to a team not named Norcom this season. They didn't shoot well from the foul line or from long distance, and had that been different, the outcome may have been, too. Only one player scored in double-figures in Draughan, who was a sub most of the year. Their offense went into a lull at the wrong time, and in tournament play when that happens, it generally means your season will be over.

7:14 PM: It's now over and the Great Bridge Wildcats are moving on to the Eastern Region Tournament semifinals for the first time since 1977-78. We'll have some Final Stats and more in a bit.

BOYS QUARTERS FINAL SCORE - - GREAT BRIDGE 54, MAURY 42

The Wildcats go to 23-3 overall and will take on the winner of the Hampton/Landstown game coming up next.

7:07 PM: After Syheim Draughan scored for Maury to cut the Great Bridge lead down to two, the Wildcats proceeded to go score the next 10 points, keyed by a couple of three-pointers from senior Andre Banks. He's been the x-factor for the Wildcats in this one down the stretch.

Steve Bienlien delivers at the foul line; he's been a real force inside rather quietly at 6-foot-7 for the Wildcats and is one of the most serviceable, underrated big men around. Maury's offense has just been completely out of sync in this one after starting the first couple of possessions of the game off well by going into the post effectively.

Great Bridge star Marcus Evans sinks a three-pointer to make this a comfortable Wildcats lead at 48-33 with 2:16 to play. The Wildcats are now on a 13-0 run, completely grabbing this one by the throat and showing a good deal of poise late. Great Bridge has now scored 19 of the game's last 21 points. It's looking like the Wildcats will be in Sunday's regional semifinals.

6:58 PM: Maury has completely forgotten about its inside combo of Jaleel Ferguson and Shyheim Draughan over the last 6-8 minutes of this game and it has cost them dearly as they head to the third quarter deadlocked at 31 with Great Bridge. The Commodores led by as many as five.

There wasn't much better shooting in the third quarter than what we saw in the first half in which Maury shot 37% and Great Bridge struggled its way to 25.9%. But the Wildcats are in good position to close this one out strong and reach the regional semifinals.

Great Bridge starts the fourth quarter off with back-to-back baskets from Marcus Evans and Aaron Ferguson. That puts the Wildcats up 35-31 on Maury, a team still searching for some kind of shot in the arm offensively in this one.

6:51 PM: Great Bridge goes in front on a basket from junior guard and Southeastern District Player of the Year Marcus Evans to make the score 28-27 in favor of the Wildcats, but in a somewhat puzzling move, Coach Gary Obenour takes him out with his second foul. It couldn't have been due to the second foul and rather just to get a breather as he checks in a minute later.

Maury goes back in front while Evans is on the bench, 31-29, thanks to a block from Domontae Chapman and inside lay-up from junior Jaleel Ferguson. The commodores' wings are giving them energy, but they need some scoring from the guards and bigs to pull this one out. Great Bridge has to find a reliable second scorer to Evans, a Robin to his Batman if you will, and it may have to come in the form of either Andre Banks or Aaron Ferguson.

6:45 PM: Five quick points to start the second half by Maury's Domontae Chapman and the Commodores' lead has grown to 25-18. Great Bridge has to change the tempo soon or else Maury will slowly but surely churn out a win. The Wildcats need to speed the pace up and get Maury on its heels some.

Great Bridge is starting to pick the pace up a smidge as they now have tied the score up at 26-apiece at the midway mark on a pull-up jumper from Mark Madison. Maury's offense is still very sluggish to say the least and they need someone, whether it's on the court now or on the bench, to give them a spark.

6:37 PM: Don't forget we have Beach District Champ Landstown (21-5) taking on reigning State Champ Hampton (21-6) in tonight's nightcap of the Boys Basketball Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinals at the Norfolk Scope. Right now though, we've reached the half of Maury vs. Great Bridge and it's a defensive battle. Some numbers from our friends at STATVA . . .

Half:

Maury 20:
Shyheim Draughan - - 6Pts. 3-4FG, 3Reb.
Mike Basnight - - 4Pts. 2-10FG, 0-4 3's, 5Reb. 2Ast. 3Stl.
Jaleel Ferguson - - 4Pts. 2-2FG, 3Reb.
Commodores - - 10-27FG, 0-4 3's, 0-4FT, 19Reb. 4Ast. 3TO's, 5Stl.

Great Bridge 18:
Marcus Evans - - 5Pts. 2-9FG, 1-1FT, 5Reb.
Mark Madison - - 5Pts. 2-7FG, 1-4 3's
Steve Bienlien - - 4Pts. 1-2FG, 2-2FT, 6Reb.
2Blk.
Wildcats - - 7-27FG, 1-7 3's, 3-3FT, 20Reb. 2Ast. 5TO's, 2Stl.

Maury is turning Great Bridge over more frequently than the Wildcats are getting Maury to turn it over and that's a plus for the Commodores. They also haven't made a three-pointer or any free-throws, so you have to feel like that will change in the second half. On the flip side for Great Bridge, their star Marcus Evans has yet to take charge under the bright lights and my feeling is he will in the second half, plus none of their role players have really given them great production. One or two of them likely will.

The second half will come down to tempo, whoever can get to the free-throw line the most and capitalize, and whoever can take smart shots and finish at the rim.

6:30 PM: It's been cold here in the Scope much of the day, but right now it's freezing on the court because neither team can get a shot to fall from the outside it seems. We head to half-time with Great Bridge and Maury combining for only seven points over the final five minutes of the second quarter.

Marcus Evans has yet to find the touch, but Great Bridge has to feel much better than Maury's Jack Baker right now given that the Commodores had a shot to go up 8-10 points and didn't take advantage of the opportunity.

Half - - Maury 20, Great Bridge 18

Stats to come in a few moments . . .

6:25 PM: Maury is starting to get turnover happy as they've yet to increase their lead and are letting Great Bridge hang around. The Wildcats can't connect from deep though and still trail the Commodores, 16-15 with 4:38 to go in the second quarter.

Maury needs its guards to get the ball out of their hands quicker and to the likes of Domontae Chapman, Jaleel Ferguson, Avontae Ferguson, Shyheim Draughan and freshman Anthony Williams from the foul line in closer.

For Great Bridge to go ahead, one of their main perimeter players that complement Evans - - Mark Madison, Byron Williams or Andre Banks - - need to give them scoring punch. The most likely candidate is Williams since he was a First Team All-Southeastern District selection. Game has gotten kind of sloppy here and Maury lead it 20-15 with 2:55 to go in the second quarter in what has developed into a defensive struggle.

6:20 PM: We've reached the end of the first quarter and Maury leads Great Bridge 14-11 after one. The Commodores hit the glass really well in the opening period and got a couple of key steals from guards Mike Basnight and Jalon Williams. Great Bridge center Steve Bienlien got a big block and bucket to end the quarter for the Wildcats to boost their confidence just a bit.

Right now, Great Bridge's star Marcus Evans is a little too passive; he only scored two points in the first quarter and he will need to take over at some point in this probably for Great Bridge to win. The good news is the Wildcats are right there.

6:15 PM: Great Bridge makes the game's first two subs, bringing in forward Kaleaf Sadler off the bench and guard Aaron Ferguson. Sadler contributes quickly with a basket inside, but what has to concern Coach Gary Obenour of the Wildcats is they aren't getting any rebounds down low and Shyheim Draughan has set a tone around the basket.

Jaleel Ferguson will now check in for Domontae Chapman and that could make the Maury front-line even more dangerous attacking the glass and getting second chance points.

The Commodores are in front 10-9 early.

6:10 PM: Surprisingly, not starting for Maury is junior center/forward Jaleel Ferguson, one of their two All-Eastern District First Team selections alongside Mike Basnight. Ferguson has been nursing that serverely sprained ankle he suffered in the Eastern District Tournament semifinals against Norview.

The lineup for Maury is doing a great job on the floor, especially junior Shyheim Draughan with two early buckets in the paint against Great Bridge 6-foot-7 senior center Steve Bienlien. The Commodores lead it 8-5 early, and then Southeastern District Player of the Year Marcus Evans scores to slice the lead down to one before Draughan delivers a hook shot and pushes it back up to three at 10-7 at the midway mark of the opening quarter.

6:05 PM: We're about to tip-off in the first Boys Eastern Region Tournament quarterfinal matchup here at the Norfolk Scope between the Maury Commodores (21-4), #2 seed out of the Eastern District, and the Southeastern District regular season Champion Great Bridge Wildcats (22-3). This has the makings to be a classic at the Scope with either team capable of winning making it to Monday night.

Quick Keys to the game for Great Bridge - - they have to contain Maury's perimeter shooters, control the backboards and transition defense.

Quick Keys for Maury - - get their inside tandem of Shyheim Draughan and Jaleel Ferguson to dominate inside and get Steve Bienlien of Great Bridge in foul trouble, don't settle for too many 3's and don't let Marcus Evans beat you in the final minutes.

5:42 PM: It's a Final here at the Norfolk Scope and the Princess Anne Girls are moving on to Sunday's semifinals of the Eastern Region Tournament, where they will take on Maury.

GIRLS QUARTERS FINAL SCORE - - PRINCESS ANNE 70, WILSON 38

The numbers from this one from our friends at STATVA (www.statva.com):

Final Stats:

Princess Anne Lady Cavaliers 70: (26-1 Overall)
Justyce Swango - - 15Pts. 5-5FG, 2-2 3's, 3-4FT, 5Ast.
Gadiva Hubbard - - 13Pts. 5-11FG, 3-5 3's, 10Reb. 2Ast.
Morgan Cooper - - 9Pts. 4-13FG, 11Reb. 3Ast. 4Stl.
Janayla White - - 8Pts. 3-12FG, 2-6FT, 15Reb. 11Blk. 6Stl.
Lady Cavs - - 24-61FG, 6-10 3's, 16-29FT, 62Reb. 15Ast. 25TO's

Wilson Lady Presidents 38: (19-8 Overall)
Monnazjea Finney-Smith - - 20Pts. 5-18FG, 8-12FT, 12Reb. 4Stl. (Fouled Out)
Tommarah Harris - - 7Pts. 3-9FG, 2Stl. (Fouled Out)
Janeen Camp - - 4Pts. 1-3FG, 2-4FT, 7Reb. 4Blk.
Lady Presidents - - 10-63FG, 2-11 3's, 16-35FT, 46Reb. 5Ast. 20TO's

Postgame Audio with Princess Anne's Darnell Dozier

The defense for the Lady Cavs was just too much to overcome for Wilson, which got held to 15.9% shooting from the floor. PA had 12 blocks and 16 steals.

5:30 PM: I'll give Wilson some credit, they aren't completely throwing in the towel against Princess Anne, but the Lady Cavs are simply too much right now. On the perimeter, their defense is locking them down and inside they are gobbling up rebounds like me munching on cookies back in the hospitality room.

After a win today, Coach Darnell Dozier of PA will move to 465-42 overall, 26-1 on the season, and sits two victories away from a tenth regional title. He's chasing that fifth State Championship after falling in last year's State Final to Oakton.

Keep it tuned to the Blog because we've still got two more games this evening and they come on the Boys side with Southeastern District #1 seed Great Bridge vs. Eastern District #2 seed Maury, followed by

5:15 PM: Princess Anne has it in cruise control, leading Wilson 50-27 after three quarters of action. The Lady Cavs are doing it with great balance as five different players have six points or more, including two freshmen getting significant playing time.

It looks like it'll be PA taking on Maury in Sunday's regional semifinals barring a comeback never seen before in the history of mankind, and given that it has yet to happen, I doubt we're so lucky to witness it now.

4:48 PM: The Princess Anne Lady Cavaliers closed the first half on one of their vintage runs they're known for under Coach Darnell Dozier. PA went on a 9-0 spurt late in the second half to separate from Wilson and get some breathing room going into the locker room at intermission. Three-pointers from freshmen Danyael Goodhope (younger sister of GG) and Gadiva Hubbard sparked that run.

Half - - Princess Anne Girls 36, Wilson 16

Stats of Note at the Break . . .

Princess Anne shot 4-of-5 from long distance in the first half compared to 1-for-9 for Wilson. There were a total of 25 fouls called that half with PA going 8-of-18 at the foul line and Wilson 7-for-17.

Rebound was big for PA in that half as well with Hubbard and Janayla White combining for 14 boards. To lead Wilson, Monnazjea Finney-Smith tallied seven points and eight boards, but shot just 1-of-8 from the field against that smothering PA defense.

4:34 PM: Wilson has really been plagued missing easy shots at the rim. If they would've made about five or six lay-ups, this game would be much together than the 23-9 score in favor of Princess Anne indicates.

We've got 3:45 to go until half-time, and what's compounding matters for Wilson is foul trouble is beginning to add up. They've got two players with three fouls apiece in Taura Jones and Tommarah Harris, and two players have two fouls each in senior Monnazjea Finney-Smith and freshman Janeen Camp, arguably the two most important players on the floor for the Lady Presidents.

Finney-Smith strikes with a three-pointers to cut into that lead, but PA responds calmly and decisively with a three-pointer from freshman guard Gadiva Hubbard; she's going to be a good one and maybe the next great prospect to come out of PA.

4:23 PM: Through one quarter of play, it's Princess Anne on top of Wilson rather comfortably at 15-5. Wilson had a stretch they could've cut it to four, but missed a driving lay-up, PA came down at the other end and got two free-throws. The Lady Cavs are as good as it gets at increasing their lead on a two or three possession swing. When they smell blood in the water, they go get it and bottle up teams with their defense.

Morgan Cooper, senior forward/guard for PA, leads the way with seven points after period.

4:05 PM: We are underway in the second game of the day between the Princess Anne Lady Cavaliers (25-1), Champions of the Beach District yet again and trying to get back to the State Championship, and the Wilson Lady Presidents (19-7), the #3 seed out of the Eastern District which upset Kecoughtan in the opening round of the regional playoffs.

Once again, PA has a talented squad under Coach Darnell Dozier and they've replaced guard Galaisha Goodhpe (ODU) without missing a beat, much like they did last season when they had to replace the nation's top center in Elizabeth Williams (Duke).

Wilson has star to lead them in Monnazjea Finney-Smith, who's headed to VCU to play her College Basketball. She's the younger sister of Dorian Finney-Smith, former standout at Norcom who won State Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons and is now at the University of Florida.

Physically, Wilson has the size and talent to match-up with Princess Anne, but mentally they'll have to be sharp, execute, defend at a high level for 32 minutes and limit turnovers to beat a PA team that is as consistently sound all phases of the game as any Girls Basketball program in the state.

3:30 PM: It's now in the books and the Maury Lady Commodores are headed back to the Eastern Region Tournament semifinals for a second straight year, defeating Western Branch in the quarterfinals.

GIRLS QUARTERS FINAL SCORE - - MAURY 51, WESTERN BRANCH 42

Another terrific season for Western Branch comes to a close at 23-4 overall. Some final numbers courtesy of Mike Whittington and STATVA (www.statva.com):

Final Stats:

Maury 51: (21-5 Overall)
Chanette Hicks - - 17Pts. 3-13FG, 11-18FT, 10Reb. 5Ast. 9Stl.
Tiffany Daniel - - 10Pts. 4-7FG, 2-3FT, 10Reb.
Gianna Smith - - 10Pts. 3-8FG, 3-8FT, 5Reb.
Jayda Luckie - - 10Pts. 4-12FG, 2-7 3's, 2Reb.
Lady Commodores - - 16-44FG, 3-9 3's, 16-29FT, 33Reb. 6Ast. 9TO's

Western Branch 42: (23-4 Overall)
Da'lishia Griffin - - 11Pts. 5-12FG, 1-3FT, 13Reb. 3Ast.
Alexis McKay - - 11Pts. 5-13FG, 7Reb.
Adriane Fraser - - 10Pts. 3-9FG, 2-6 3's, 2-3FT, 2Reb. 2Ast.
Lady Bruins - - 17-51FG, 4-24 3's, 4-7FT, 38Reb. 10Ast. 15TO's

Postgame Audio with Maury Girls Coach Jermaine Woods

3:10 PM: With 4:34 to go in the fourth quarter, Maury's Girls lead Western Branch by a count of 44-36. Western Branch came in as the #1 seed, but probably not the favorite in the game given that Maury won by 32 a year ago. They do have two players set to go to the next level though in center Da'lishian Griffin (JMU) and guard Shanese Harris (UNC-Greensboro).

Maury's got some talented underclassmen to counter with in Chanette Hicks, the Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year, and Gianna Smith. Both will be D-1 recruits and it looks like Jermaine Woods's gals will be headed back to the regional semifinals for a second straight year as long as they hit their free-throws down the stretch.

3:00 PM: Hello Friends! We are Blogging again for the fourth consecutive year at the Norfolk Scope for the Eastern Region High School Basketball Tournament! The 2013 edition marks the final Eastern Region Tournament as next year the VHSL realignment will create a different type of postseason play with sectionals as opposed to regionals.

I don't have the time or the energy and desire at this time to go into full detail, but I'm sure we'll have plenty more here on VirginiaPreps.com in the coming weeks and months about that as the 2012-13 school year winds down.

As always, the region playoffs at Scope means we have some exciting basketball in store and you can stay tuned here to the site and my Hatfield Sports Twitter feed for Updates, Analysis, Stats and tons of reaction.

Let's go into the schedule and then go through the picks I have set. For the first round of the AAA Region Playoffs around the state, I went an unprecedented 28-0. That was followed by a rough 7-5 record in Round Two for the Central, Northern and Northwest Region, bringing my total mark t 35-5.

Wednesday's Eastern Region Tournament Quarterfinals Schedule:

2:00 PM (Girls) - - #2 Maury (20-5) vs. #1 Western Branch (23-3)
4:00 PM (Girls) - - #3 Wilson (19-7) vs. #1 Princess Anne (25-1)
6:00 PM (Boys) - - #2 Maury (21-4) vs. #1 Great Bridge (22-3)
8:00 PM (Boys) - - #2 Hampton (21-6) vs. #1 Landstown (21-5)

Hatfield's Picks:

Maury Girls by 4 and Princess Anne Girls by 17
Great Bridge Boys by 1 in OT and Hampton Boys by 9

 

Matthew Hatfield serves as AAA 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 hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com, and don't forget to listen to him on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday at 11AM on ESPN Radio 94.1 and watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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