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February 25, 2013
Live Blogging the ER title games from the Scope
We are here at the Norfolk Scope awaiting the beginning of the Eastern Region championship game between the Great Bridge Wildcats (24-3) and the Kecoughtan Warriors (25-4) who advanced to this contest following their respective wins over the Hampton Crabbers and the Kings Fork Bulldogs.
In the opening game of the doubleheader here at the Scope, the Princess Anne Cavaliers defeated the Lake Taylor Titans by a score of 55-48 to capture their tenth regional since 1998. The win ran the Cavaliers season mark to 28-1 and set up a state quarterfinal showdown with the Central Region runners-up, L.C. Bird on Friday at the Constant Convention Center on the campus of Old Dominion University.
The loss dropped Lake Taylor to 25-1 on the season and will send the Titans up to the Seigel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University on Thursday night where they will play the Central Region champon Highland Springs Springers.
My esteemed colleague and site basketball guru Matthew Hatfield is working as the television announcer for the Cox 11 broadcast of the boys game tonight so I am stepping in as guest blogger here tonight. No worries, I can type and I've watched more than a couple of games this season.
For you regular blog-watchers, please note that I work a little bit differently than Matthew in that I will not be putting the newest entry on the top of the blog, but rather at the bottom with each blog entry separated with a horizontal line.
Hopefully, it works out well for both of us.
Princess Anne was led by Gaidva Hubbard who scored 22 points on 7 of 16 shooting with 5 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 assists. Her main support came from Alexis Platt who pulled 12 rebounds and scored 10 points in the win. four of the team's six blocks in the middle came from Janayla White who also grabbed nine rebounds and scored five points.
For the Titans of Lake Taylor, Feyonda Fitzgerald totaled 23 points with 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists to pace their attack while Endia McKinney reached double digits with 10 points, 6 reoubnds, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
The difference in the game came when Princess Anne outscored Lake Taylor 16-5 in the second quarter to carry a 12-point lead into the half and one that they extended to 14 at the end of three before settling for the 55-48 victory.
The boys are on the court now with just over 17 minutes remaining until game time. I'm going to grab a quick water and meet you back then.
Tip off Time
As we head towards the tip-off, one notable missing person from the arena this evening is the Kecoughtan Warriors mascot, a student at the school who wears a full headdress and is usualy involved in pumping up the crowd. I'm quite surprised that he's not here; superstitious Kecoughtan fans should be concerned.
Athletically, these two schools should match up pretty well though there may be a slight height advantage for Kecoughtan.
The loser here will travel to Richmond to meet the winner of the John Marshall v. Henrico contest while the region champion will play at Old Dominion against the Central loser.
Some spotty shooting early after Kecoughtan's Greg Alexander hits a three-pointer to open the contest as each team has now missed on their last three trips.
A Steven Bienlien follow tip cuts the lead to one point (3-2) but both teams still look at bit rushed early on.
Marcus Evans strokes back-to-back threes to give the Wildcats a 8-3 advantage but Rajay Bullock scores inside to answer. A Mark Madison triple and a slashing drive by Evans have propelled Great Bridge to a 13-5 advantage with just over 2:30 to play in the first.
It's safe to say that Great Bridge has settled in first.
Ending the First Quarter
Trailing 15-5, Kecoughtan gets a runner from Lawrence Williams to cut the Great Bridge lead to 8 and the Warriors backed that up with a Williams steal and bucket from the other end pushing them to within six of the 'Cats.
A Great Bridge miss leads to a transition basket for Alexander as he finishes his drive with a dunk making the count 15-11 at the end of the quarter.
Could have been a disaster for Kecoughtan as Great Bridge hit them hard early, but the Warriors responded.
Looks like a good one.
Marcell Haskett opens the scoring for Kecoughtan in the second quarter with a running and-one play that makes the count 15-14 giving the Warriors nine straight points. That string is broekn when Bienlien scores inside. 17-14 with just over six minutes to play.
Lawrence Williams knots us at 17 with a three from the corner for the Warriors who have now completely erased the Wildcats' early ten-point lead.
A Hasket runner at one end and Bullock rebound at the other have the Warriors rolling and leading for the first time.
Evans answers with a floater in the lane to tie us up again but William Askew responds with a three-pointer to make it 22-19 Kecoughtan with four minutes left in the quarter.
Beinlien scores on a putback to cut the Kecoughtan lead to one.
To the Half
Bullock adds another bucket and Great Bridge turns the ball over on the other end as we get our first time out of the contest with Kecoughtan leading 24-21 with 2:38 to play.
The Lake Taylor football team made for a strong rooting section in the first contest but they might be surpassed by the Great Bridge moms chanting and pom-pom waving.
Back to the action...
Bullock converts one of two free throw attempts. 25-21 Warriors with the ball after another Wildcats' turnover.
A steal by Evans turns into nothing at the other end as Great Bridge misses their next shot.
Speaking of missing their next shot, Great Bridge's Bienlien just sent a running Kecoughtan shot into the first row with a HUGE block from the weakside, something that he's made a living doing throughout this postseason run for the 'Cats.
At the half, Kecoughtan leads 26-23 and we've really not solved anything to this point. The Warriors are seemingly winning more of the hustle points and 50/50 balls but they've had to rely a bit more on their outside shooting than they normally would.
Great Bridge is getting outstanding production out of Evans who has over half their points but they've done a nice job getting open shots and have to feel good to be this close in a game where they haven't played their best yet.
Marcus Evans - 14 pts, 2 assts, 1 stl
Steven Bienlien - 6 pts, 6 rebs, 2 blks
Lawrence Williams - 7 pts, 2 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl
Greg Alexander - 6 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asst, 1 blk
Rodney Bullock - 5 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asst, 2 blk, 1 stl
Marcell Haskett - 5 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl
Here We Go
With not much settled in the first half, it reamins to be seen if Kecoughtan can continue getting contributions from so many players while Great Bridge searches for some more scoring help for Evans.
Bullock gets the first bucket of the half to push the Kecoughtan lead to five at 28-23.
Andre Banks gets his first point of the game for Great Bridge hitting on one of two free throws; 28-24 Warriors.
Mark Madison adds a three-pointer to cut the lead to two but Lawrence Williams responses with a bucket.
Great Bridge is right back in it with a Byron Williams bucket, his first of the contest. Might be a great sign for the Wildcats that others besides Evans are finding the hoop. Madison adds another score and it's suddenly 31-30 Warriors lead.
Get us to the Exciting Conclusion?
Great Bridge grabs the lead with a Bienlien and-one score inside that give the 'Cats a 34-31 lead.
A scary mmoment for Great Bridge as two players collided and it appears that Marcus Evans got the worst of it lying on the floor for several minutes. He got off the court on his own accord but with 2:42 to go and Great Bridge leading 35-31, it may be something to watch out for.
Additional good news came for the Warriors as the mascot has arrived! Explaining that he had to work, he rushed over and has annouced that now is "Turn Up" time for his team.
Remains to be seen.
Back End of Third Quarter
A score inside by Great Bridge is answered with two free throws by Alexander to amek it 37-33 Great Bridge with just over a minute left in the stanza.
Evans checked back into the game and looks 100% so great news there.
Will Askew hits a triple for Kecoughtan and the Warriors then turn a failed possession by Great Bridge into a Bullock score inside giving the Warriors the lead again at 38-37.
Evans drives and is fouled but makes only one of two shots seending us into the final stanza with the score knotted at 38.
Game on the Line
Back-to-back scores by Aaron ferguson and Byron Williams push Great Bridge to a 42-38 advantage to open the period as they take (somewhat) control of the contest.
Haskett drains a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one score; 42-40 Wildcats.
Banks drives and dishes to Evans to bottoms out a three-pointer to make it 45-40 Great Bridge.
Bullock gets a foul call on a drive where a vocal portion of the crowd called for travel and he makes one of two. 45-41.
Bullock makes a play in the lane at the other end leading to a breakout for Lawrence Williams who is fouled on the drive. He converts one of two. 45-42 Great Bridge.
Held ball on a rebound gives the ball back to the Warriors down three but they fail to convert.
The teams trade misses with just over four minutes remaining.
Bienlien and Bullock trade buckets inside to make it 47-44 Great Bridge but Evans hits an and-one runner in the lane to push the lead to five. On his missed free throw attempt, Bienlien cleans up the glass with a putback score making it 51-44 with 3:19 to go.
Full timeout, Kecoughtan.
Lawrence Williams' shot from the corner falls short for Kecoughtan and Byron Williams misses the front end of a one-and-one for Great Bridge.
Lawrence then hits a putback bucket for Kecoughtan to make it 51-46 with 2:41 to play.
Bienlien is fouled on his drive and hits both free throws; 53-46 Wildcats.
Bullock drains a three-pointer and Kecoughtan calls a full timeout with 2:20 to go trailing 53-49.
Bullock nearly gets a steal on a loose ball at midcourt but fouls Marcus Evans chasing it down to put the 'Cats in the double bonus. Evans hits both; 55-49 with 1;52 to go.
Bucket by Lawrence Williams cuts the lead to four with just over a 1:15 to go. Bienlien is fouled on a rebound attempt and goes to the line up 55-51. He drains bothl 57-53.
Bullock drains two free throws and the Warriors press but Byron Williams is fouled. Hits both 59-53 with 47.6 to play.
Bienlien is fouled going to the hoop and will shoot two but a technical foul is assessed on Will Askew who took out some frustration on the ball slamming it to the ground.
The big center hits three of the four free throw attempts to make it 62-53 with 25 seconds to play.
Bullock gets a steal and dunk to make it 62-55 with 12.5 to play.
Wrapping it up
Great Bridge wraps it up with a Bienlien layup to make the final score 64-55 as the Great Bridge Wildcats collect the 2012-13 Eastern Region Basketball championship (the last one being played!).
Trophy time for the Southeastern power who will now play host to the Central Region runners-up John Marshall Friday at Old Dominion.
Kecoughtan will hit the road for a Thursday night contest at VCU where they will play Central Region champion Henrico.
Marcus Evans - 22 pts, 6 asst, 5 rebs, 1 stl
Steven Bienlien - 22 pts, 13 rebs, 5 blks
Rodney Bullock - 20 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks, 2 asst, 2 stl
Lawrence Williams - 14 pts, 6 rebs, 1 asst, 1 stl
Kaelin Poe - 11 rebs, 1 asst, 1 blk