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February 28, 2014

Back to the State Tourney for Wakefield

5A-North Region Tournament Semifinals:
Final - - #1 Wakefield 85, #1 Broad Run 80

Trying to make their second consecutive State Tournament appearance, the Wakefield Warriors knew it wouldn't be easy, even at home playing in their own gym. They had to beat a Broad Run team that entered 20-3 overall with a 3-0 mark in overtime and a wealth of experience in tight ballgames.

Fortunately for Wakefield, they too have been in a number of down to the wire finishes and that helped them in gutting out a high-scoring affair, 85-80 in the 5A-North Region Tournament semifinals. Late in the second quarter, Coach Tony Bentley's squad trailed by as many as five points against the Conference 14 Champion Spartans from Broad Run.

Wakefield was able to close out the first half strong and go up 42-39 at half-time. However, Broad Run fought back and led 62-61 entering the fourth quarter. It was a back-and-forth battle over the final eight minutes, and the Warriors got great offensive play from two players in particular, 6-foot-3 senior wing Re'Quan Hopson and 6-foot-4 junior center Dominique Tham.

Hopson scored a career-high 29 points, converting 7-of-8 from the foul line. Tham, the Capitol Conference Player of the Year, added 28 points with 22 coming in the second half.

Broad Run got a star effort from Travis Fulgham, a 6-foot-3 senior that went over 20 points for the sixth time this season. Fulgham had 11 points in the first quarter alone. He went on to finish with a double-double of 28 points and 18 rebounds, throwing down a monster dunk that ignited the Broad Run fans.

When Wakefield appeared to pull away in the fourth quarter, Broad Run hit a pair of three-pointers to tie it up at 80 with 48 seconds remaining in the contest, the ladder coming from Tyriek King. Thirty seconds later, the tie would be broke on a put-back from Tham, who then blocked a shot on the very next possession.

Senior guard Kyle Davis, an off-season transfer from Washington-Lee, sank two free-throws in the final seconds to give the Warriors an 84-80 lead, and enough breathing room to hold off a Broad Run team that connected on seven three-pointers on the night. Tham added another foul shot before the final horn sounded.

The free-throw line, so often a weak area for Wakefield earlier in the season, proved to make a difference. While Broad Run went 7-for-12 at the charity stripe, the Warriors made 24-of-31, attacking the basket aggressively

Once 10-4 on the campaign, the Warriors are on a 13-game winning streak and will go for a regional title - - their first since 2005 - - when undefeated Potomac rolls into Arlington on Saturday. Wakefield last year lost a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter in an overtime loss to W.T. Woodson in the Northern Region Championship.

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 every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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