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March 13, 2014
LIVE 3A Championship Blog at VCU
4:00 PM: That'll wrap up our Coverage from Session 1 of the VHSL State Basketball Tournament at VCU.
Coming up are two more games to come in Session 2 this evening with William Fleming vs. Lake Taylor in the 4A Girls Basketball State Championship, followed by the Thursday nightcap of the 4A Boys Basketball State Championship with the Norcom Greyhounds taking on the Handley Judges.
GIRLS FINAL - - SPOTSWOOD 56, BROADWAY 49
3:44 PM: The John Marshall Justices played some mighty good competition all season long, challenging themselves in the non-conference slate by playing in the VirginiaPreps.com Classic against Cape Henry, who beat them in overtime, as well as the Times-Dispatch Tournament and even taking on a Christchurch team with the state's #1 ranked prospect in Florida signee Devin Robinson.
In the end, it all paid off for a John Marshall team full of underclassmen and might very well be back in the spotlight again come March 2015. George Wythe's terrific season ends at 23-5 overall against a team that was on fire almost the entire way.
Here are the Final Stats . . .
Marshall Justices 74: (22-5 Overall)
Wythe Bulldogs 56: (23-5 Overall)
John Marshall couldn't have shot the ball much better with Sheppard tearing the defense up from beyond the arc. As Coach Ty White stated, it's like a lay-up it seems when he pulls the trigger on a long-range shot. Burton was stupendous as well with 14 points and 14 dimes as well as very few turnovers.
More to come, including our Session #2 Blog later on today - - stay tuned right here on VirginiaPreps.com!
3:42 PM: It is in the books and the John Marshall Justices have accomplished something the school hasn't done in 60 years and Ty White's team captures the state title in Group 3A, defeating a George Wythe Bulldogs team that defeated them in the regional title game.
BOYS HOOPS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL - - JOHN MARSHALL 74, GEORGE WYTHE 56
Coach White goes to the stands to get his children and the JM fans begin to celebrate. We'll have Final Stats in a little bit . . . stay tuned!
3:37 PM: We're ticking down the seconds to John Marshall's first state title victory since 1954, which was prior to integration. The Justices got beat 72-48 in the AAA State Championship by Henrico a year ago, and the players that were in that game currently playing for John Marshall must've remembered that feeling, not wanting to experience it again. Instead, they're the ones giving out a lopsided beating as the Justices are ahead by 18 on George Wythe with under a minute to go.
In what will be a loss for Wythe, sophomore point guard Maliek White must be commended for playing with a lot of energy and going hard the entire way as he scored at least 19 points. Both teams are now emptying their benches.
3:33 PM: It has been a wonderful turnaround season for George Wythe to record 23 victories and capture a regional title this season on their way to reaching the 3A State Championship game. Today though, it has been all John Marshall as the Justices have breezed past them since closing the opening period on a 13-2 run. The Justices also got a big boost of momentum to close out the first half with Taqqi Muhammad's jam, and everyone is working just about on offense for JM.
With 2:16 to play, John Marshall leads George Wythe 70-48 in a game that was a nine-point contest at the half. Nate Williams and Greg Jones have been able to be factors offensively, likewise for sub Jay Broaddus, and point guard Quaman Burton is handing out dimes left and right in this one, mostly to Sheppard and Muhammad.
3:26 PM: To start off the fourth quarter, George Wythe sophomore point guard Maliek White shows his hops, skying for a pretty rejection. He's been instrumental in their turnaround and is going to be one to watch for years to come for the Bulldogs. However, Ty White's Justices of John Marshall continue to strike from the outside.
When Wythe cuts the gap to 12 with three straight points to begin the fourth quarter, John Marshall gets a fifth three-pointer of the game from sophomore guard Jeremy Sheppard, who now has 19 points. I would say this is Sheppard's coming out party, except he's been doing this all year long and isn't afraid of the big stage or bright lights.
3:17 PM: The John Marshall offense is simply firing on all cylinders today and they went 8-for-13 from the floor in the third quarter, an impressive 61.5% to increase their lead from nine to 15 at the end of three quarters. Point guard Quaman Burton has been incredible in this one with 10 points, 13 assists and only two turnovers, consistently finding others cutting and slashing to the hoop when he drives.
And it's not like George Wythe shot all that poorly in the third quarter themselves. They were 5-for-9 from the field, but have been unable to stop JM's offensive attack that is scoring both inside and out, and when bigs like Greg Jones and Nate Williams are hitting shots away from the basket, look out. The Bulldogs did turn it over four times in that third quarter, and the duo of Brandon Holley and Dashawn Hewlett have been held to five points each.
End 3rdQ - - John Marshall 56, George Wythe 41
3:11 PM: George Wythe refuses to get out of the zone defensively and John Marshall continues to carve it up since finding their footing offensively midway through the first quarter. Junior 6-foot-7 (maybe 6-8?) forward Nate Williams sinks an elbow jumper and another shot, showing off his skill level to coaches watching live or on TV with my pals Gary Hess and Robert Fish calling the action for the cameras.
Freshman Greg Jones, another budding talent who's at least 6-foot-4, perhaps inching his way up to 6-foot-6 or taller before his career is over, hits a three-point shot as my media colleague to my left was saying 'oh no, don't take that shot.' To be honest, I was thinking the same thing, but everything is falling for John Marshall this afternoon.
3:05 PM: John Marshall picks up right where it left off to begin the second half. After T.J. Durham scores for George Wythe to trim the deficit to seven, the Justices get a fourth three-point make of the contest from sophomore guard Jeremy Sheppard. His recruiting stock should only go up, not down, after this performance here today.
Taqqi Muhammad, the rangy wing who defends about as well as anyone on the perimeter in the state at the 3A level, scores to follow it and increase the lead to 11. The Justices are solving this George Wythe zone, and the Bulldogs' fans behind me on press row are pleading to Coach Willard Coker to get out of it immediately.
"How you going to play zone when you got a team full of athletes, Coach?" That's what one fan just yelled behind me (and I'm positive that's what he said because my ear is still ringing).
2:57 PM: Some half-time numbers as the John Marshall Justices lead the George Wythe Bulldogs by a count of 37-28 in the 3A Boys Basketball State Championship . . .
Stats at the Half:
Clearly, the outside shooting of Sheppard really turned the tide for John Marshall, but not to be left out is the penetration and ability to create for others of Burton. To have seven assists and no turnovers at the point guard spot in one half of basketball in the State Championship is absolutely fabulous.
George Wythe was able to start off well offensively and establish Holland. They got away from that a little, even though they were able to get to the foul line more than JM and make most of them count. They have to get Dashawn Hewlett on track; he was the real big difference maker in the second meeting that they won and he was relatively quiet. They've also got their main three scorers in Hewlett, Holley and White in foul trouble with two personal fouls apiece.
2:52 PM: What a burst to head into the locker room at the half for John Marshall. The Justices grab their largest lead at nine points when sophomore Jeremy Sheppard comes up with a loose ball as George Wythe tried to hold for the last possession, resulting in a breakaway dunk for junior wing Taqqi Muhammad.
Muhammad has been instrumental all year long defensively for JM, guarding the likes of Indiana signee Robert Johnson of Benedictine, Florida signee Devin Robinson for Christchurch and Cape Henry junior star Chris Clarke.
HALF - - John Marshall 37, George Wythe 28
Scratch out my last post bout the half-time score meaning nothing. A demoralizing finish to the first half for George Wythe and John Marshall has lots of momentum.
2:48 PM: One thing George Wythe is starting to do a really good job of is attack offensively and get to the free-throw line. As the game progresses, that could get one of JM's two big men, junior Nate Williams or Greg Jones (both of whom hold D-1 offers), in foul trouble. Especially doing a good job of that is Wythe 5-foot-11 junior reserve guard Maurice Coleman with four trips to the charity stripe.
Sophomore PG Maliek White hits a three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within three at 29-26. But John Marshall continues to get what it wants and needs offensively with a Nate Williams elbow jumper and Quaman Burton finding nothing the bottom of the net for two. As we tick under a minute to go in the first half, it's JM up by a count of 33-28.
Let's not forget that the last time they played, John Marshall led at half-time and George Wythe rallied. Wythe also saw an 11-point lead in the first meeting turn into a 11-point loss, so the score through two quarters sometimes means very little when these two Richmond area schools get together.
2:43 PM: The John Marshall offense continues to fire on all cylinders after they were down 11-5 and got going as Jay Broaddus knocks down a three-pointer, and not long after that they get a third trey of the first half from sophomore Jeremy Sheppard. Their lead has swelled to 27-19 nearing the midway point of the second quarter.
How much longer will George Wythe Head Coach Willard Coker stay in the zone is the question? Coker, the former sideline boss at Virginia Union, has done remarkable job turning around a program that won just 22 games in the previous six seasons combined and they've got 23 victories this year. I'm interested to see if he has a couple tricks up his sleeve.
Finally, George Wythe gets a much-needed stop on defense with sophomore point guard Maliek White making a rejection, then going the other way and dumping it off to teammate Eric Crews inside and he's fouled. Maybe a play that will ignite George Wythe? They trail it 27-22 with three minutes left in the first half.
2:35 PM: It's a 13-2 spurt for John Marshall to close the opening quarter in a game that has the look of one where there will be runs by both teams back-and-forth in a seesaw type of battle that you would expect between two teams that have split meetings to this point, playing for a State Championship.
Down 11-5, John Marshall turned to senior point guard Quaman Burton, the tough as nails guy and junkyard dog for Coach Ty White, to initiate the offense and he did that via penetration. Burton had a tough drive for a basket, plus drew the harm. He then attacked again for a score. That opened up the three-point shooting for sophomore Jeremy Sheppard, who has coaches from Mount St. Mary's, VCU, William & Mary and many others keeping a close eye on him. Sheppard has a beautiful looking stroke and a bright future. He's made 100 3's on the campaign
End 1stQ - - John Marshall 18, George Wythe 13
George Wythe will have to get back to their defensive principles that got them the lead and keep John Marshall's guards under control, shooting or penetrating.
2:28 PM: George Wythe has attacked John Marshall inside effectively, going to their 6-foot-6 senior center Fernando Holland. Any points he provides can be a bonus because their main scoring threats are on the perimeter in the form of the aforementioned White, Brandon Holley and Dashawn Hewlett. Speaking of White and Holley, they have gotten in on the act, too.
Holley converted a three-pointer and White slipped backdoor on the defense for a baseline lay-up. It's Wythe in the lead 11-5 with 2:43 to go in the first quarter and the John Marshall offense has gone stagnant against this Bulldogs' defense, which is looking to keep the basketball away from Sheppard and doing a fairly good job so far. John Marshall has had a couple of turnovers and will need their defense stop Wythe from getting in the paint and finding easy scores. Their front-line defenders have to step up soon or else it'll be a big afternoon for Wythe offensively.
2:20 PM: We are underway here at VCU in the 3A Boys Basketball State Championship between John Marshall and George Wythe. Out of the gate, John Marshall freshman Greg Jones, who checks in at close 6-foot-5 or maybe right there, hits a pretty jump-hook. It appears that George Wythe is playing a Box-and-One defense in the early going, trying to shadow JM star Jeremy Sheppard.
George Wythe gets to the foul line with sophomore point guard Maliek White converting a pair. Remember as we pointed out in the Preview, Wythe had a lot more success when they got to the foul line in the second meeting against John Marshall, and the Justices will have to cut off penetration well to prevail.
It's JM in the lead 3-2 with 6:01 to go in the opening quarter after Sheppard split a pair of free-throws and the Justices turned it over on a traveling violation.
1:55 PM: Well, it's in the books and the Spotswood Trailblazers have defeated the Broadway Gobblers in the 3A Girls Basketball State Championship.
GIRLS BASKETBALL 3A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL - - SPOTSWOOD 56, BROADWAY 49
Spotswood finishes its season with a record of 27-1 overall, while Broadway wraps up at 22-6 overall.
Here are the Final Stats below . . .
56: (27-1 Overall)
49: (22-6 Overall)
Coming up next . . . it's the showdown in 3A between two Richmond area schools with a packed house as the John Marshall Justices take on the George Wythe Bulldogs. John Marshall won the Conference 26 Tournament against George Wythe, while the Bulldogs defeated the Justices for the 3A-East Regional Championship. This one ought to be a dandy.
1:45 PM: Welcome to another year of LIVE Blog Coverage of the 2014 VHSL State Basketball Tournament from the Verizon Wireless Arena in Richmond at VCU's Stuart C. Siegel Center. We have 12 Championship matchups - - six boys and six girls - - over the next there days and we plan to provide you with updates throughout.
Also be sure to follow the Hatfield Sports Twitter feed for periodic updates and tidbits, too.
Our first session is about halfway through as the Spotswood Girls currently lead Broadway in the 3A State Championship late in the fourth quarter. We'll have a final on that one shortly. Coming up after that at 2:00 PM to close out the opening session will be a third matchup in the 3A Boys Basketball Championship between the John Marshall Justices and George Wythe Bulldogs.
Below you can see the matchups with records and times when the Championship games will be played here at VCU over the next three days.
6A State Championships:
- S1 Colonial Forge (26-1) vs. S2 Landstown (23-5) -
- March 14 at 8:30PM
5A State Championships:
- S2 Henrico (22-6) vs. N2 Potomac (27-1) - - March 14 at 2PM
4A State Championships:
- S1 Norcom (22-5) vs. N1 Handley (21-2) - - March 13
3A State Championships:
- E1 George Wythe (23-4) vs. E2 John Marshall (21-5) - - March 13 at 2PM
2A State Championships:
- E1 Bruton (26-1) vs. W1 Dan River (24-0) - - March 15 at 8:30PM
1A State Championships:
- E1 Altavista (22-3) vs. W1 Radford (26-2) - - March
15 at 2PM
BOYS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEWS:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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