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March 15, 2014
LIVE 2A Championship Blog at VCU
11:55 PM: Well, the 2014 VHSL State Basketball Tournament has reached its conclusion and it was another exciting at the Verizon Wireless Arena in the VCU Siegel Center in Richmond. A total of 12 State Champions were crowned, six each in Boys and Girls Hoops, with a number of competitive games that went down to the wire.
There were several memorable moments and top-notch individual performances that we'll soon be highlighting here on VirginiaPreps.com. In the meantime, let's look back at the Final Sores . . .
BOYS FINAL - - COLONIAL FORGE 58, LANDSTOWN 54
BOYS FINAL - - NORCOM 59, HANDLEY 52
Below you can hear the Postgame Sound from Dan River/Bruton.
Many thanks go out to all the readers and followers throughout the 2013-14 season and entire postseason.
As we bid good night, just a reminder to stay tuned to VirginiaPreps.com in the coming days and weeks. We've got LOTS more Coverage coming with reaction to the Championships, stories and also Rankings (Top Tens for 6A through 1A, plus a Top 25) and Recruiting Stories as well as some Q&A's with the winning coaches.
10:25 PM: The Dan River Wildcats are 2014 VHSL State Champions in Group 2A, joining the Cosby Girls in 6A as the only undefeated teams in Virginia High School Basketball this season. Oh by the way, Kenny Murphy's Wildcats feature eight juniors, a sophomore and a freshman on the roster, so count on them being ranked #1 in the preseason for 2014-15.
Let's look at the final tallies . . .
River Wildcats 84: (25-0 Overall)
Panthers 58: (26-2 Overall)
We'll wrap things up following the postgame press conferences, so be sure to check back readers!
10:19 PM: A strong and loud contingency of Dan River fans have been jumping and chanting, "I believe that we will win!" Guess what? The top-ranked team in Group 2A will do so and in convincing fashion over a Bruton Panthers team that was preseason #1 and hadn't lost by double-figures all season until tonight in the 2A State Championship at VCU.
BOYS HOOPS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL - - DAN RIVER 84, BRUTON 58
It caps a perfect 25-0 season for Dan River. Their 84 points are a season-high, besting the previous mark of 77 set back early in the season against Bassett. The 84 allowed by Bruton is the most they've given up on the campaign.
We'll have some Final Stats coming shortly and then we'll put a bow on our Session #6 LIVE Blog from the Siegel Center in Richmond!
10:13 PM: The fans that made the trip from Ringgold are starting to get jubilant as their Dan River Wildcats are less than two minutes away from finishing off an undefeated 25-0 season to capture their first ever state title. Back in 2009, they fell to Radford by a count of 60-49 in the title game. Tonight, they've handled a mighty good Bruton team that won 26 games by over 33 points per contest and only lost one by single-digits all year prior to this Championship bought.
Marcus Carter, the senior leader for Bruton who has had a tremendous career with over 1000 career points and helped lead the Panthers to their first regional title since 1978, exits with 1:26 to a warm applause from the Bruton fans. Dan River's advantage is now 81-58 with 1:08 to go as some of the subs are starting to check in during this 2A State Championship I must admit I'm surprised not by the outcome, but definitely the margin.
10:07 PM: Down by 17 with just over four minutes to play, Bruton has to go to the foul strategy at this point in the game I think. The Wildcats are not a great foul shooting team by any means (48%), but they are making some key ones since the second quarter after a 0-for-4 start. Bruton needs the clock to stop, create some turnovers and knock down a few from long-range.
Dan River's press-break has been really good tonight as they've gotten away from the Panthers' 2-2-1 full-court press and gotten lay-ups at the other end. The latest comes from junior Curtis 'Q' Stephens, who has 23 points (potentially a season-high?) and the Wildcats have now gone over 70 points for only the third time this season.
It's the Wildcats up 72-56 with 3:05 left. That fat lady in Row 18 Section B here at the Siegel Center is warming up.
10:00 PM: Bruton is trying to mount a run and certainly you have to credit the kids for not throwing in the towel down 23 in this State Championship. The Panthers are on a mini run, sparked by their talented senior guards Marcus Carter and Lonnie Swinton. They cut the deficit to 14, though Dan River gets the lead back up with a couple of makes at the foul line and Ethan Driskill finding Curtis 'Q' Stephens for a bucket. The 6-foot-1 junior guard Stephens has been nothing short of sensational.
One thing that could be a tad troubling for Dan River if this thing gets to single-digits is that junior star Tremaine Edmunds fouled out at the 5:24 mark and he's one of their best athletes as well as rebounders. Marcus Carter of Bruton gets called for his fourth foul only 19 seconds later. However, a Carter there-pointer cuts the Dan River lead to 68-53 with 4:27 to play.
9:53 PM: There literally has been no drop-off in Dan River's play tonight. They've been high-octane from the start and Bruton has yet to slow them down. The Panthers have had a wonderful season, winning 26 of 27 games coming into the night and a regional crown, but they've been no match for the Wildcats since midway through the second quarter.
It's Dan River in the lead by a count of 64-46 with 5:54 to play. Terrell Edmunds went right by Bruton star Marcus Carter in transition for a lay-up a moment ago, and it wasn't like Carter did a bad job defensively as much as the Wildcats are in that zone on offensively. Curtis 'Q' Stephens is playing arguably his best game of the season, scoring it and not turning the ball over.
Dan River delivered the knockout punch I feel in that second quarter. Their gang-style rebounding and high-pressure would suffocate most teams in the state, regardless of classification.
9:46 PM: The Dan River Wildcats are simply displaying outstanding teamwork. Late in the third quarter with a sizeable lead, the team works the ball around and it's Tremaine Edmunds slicing through the defense and when a defender collapses, he finds his cousin Tyleik Edmunds for the easy basket.
Bruton simply cannot stop Dan River right now, and the Wildcats are controlling the boards while defensively containing a Panthers team that is playing too much one-on-one (1 assist to 13 turnovers).
End 3rdQ in 2A Championship - - Dan River 58, Bruton 36
Dan River is well on its way to completing a perfect 25-0 season with their first ever State Championship. They've got four guys in double-figures with Ethan Driskill (13Pts.), Curtis 'Q' Stephens (11Pts.), Tremaine Edmunds (11Pts.) and Terrell Edmunds (10Pts.).
9:39 PM: Folks, these Edmunds boys can play! Dan River's dynamic duo of Terrell Edmunds and Tremaine Edmunds, two All-State candidates in Group 2A, are just attacking relentlessly inside. And the Wildcats are contesting and making plays on defense. That was shown in the fist half in the form of three blocked shots and seven steals. They aren't giving Bruton an inch.
The deficit is 23 with 3:40 before Marcus Carter hits a three-pointer for the Panthers. What's amazing about this Dan River team is they don't really run any designed plays in the half-court. They just go hard to the hole and finish with authority, using their athleticism and strength so very well. They're showing why they are undefeated for sure.
9:34 PM: To start the third quarter off, Dan River adds to its lead with a basket that makes it 40-23. That 17-point deficit I believe is the biggest Bruton has had all year long. Six-foot-3 senior Terrell Edmunds goes to the rack strong for a deuce and the Wildcats are playing one of their best games of the year offensively on the biggest of stages.
Re'Shaun Myers banks in a three-point shot to push the Wildcats' lead to 19 at 47-26 with 4:45 to go in the third quarter. Bruton looks stunned and it's now 21 after Tremaine Edmunds' deuce inside.
I must admit that I am a little perplexed that Bruton has yet to call a time-out this quarter.
9:25 PM: It is half-time and the Dan River Wildcats are rolling, two quarters away from completing an undefeated season. They led the Bruton Panthers comfortably in the 2A State Championship right now. But anyone that witnessed the Norcom/Handley 4A Boys Championship Thursday night knows it's not over until the fat lady sings (and we haven't spotted her in here yet).
2A Championship at the Half - - Dan River 38, Bruton 23
Stats at the Half:
Dan River is trying to join the Cosby Girls as the only teams in Boys and Girls Basketball in this 2013-14 campaign to go undefeated. They are doing a fantastic job on the backboards, getting numerous second shots and their foul shooting was much better in the second quarter, going 9-for-10. Driskill and Stephens have been terrific on offense.
For Bruton, I've never seen a team with a 0-10 assist-to-turnover ratio at half-time. To make matters worse, their two best players in Carter and Swinton are in foul trouble. They have to start playing with tenacity defensively and turn the Wildcats over to get back in this game.
9:17 PM: Just when Bruton thought they had stopped the bleeding, another wound opens up as the Dan River Wildcats are starting to flex their muscles, getting numerous second chance opportunities and turning tough defense into instant offense.
Curtis 'Q' Stephens (6.7PPG) has been the catalyst in the backcourt. He scored seven points in the fist quarter and is up to 11 when he scored to give them a double-digit advantage. Another hoop by Gabe Long gives Dan River its largest lead at 36-21 with 1:11 to go before half-time.
It's pretty clear that Bruton is in some major trouble right now. They need some to ignite them, and find some answers defensively, particularly on the backboards.
9:11 PM: Offensively, Bruton still is having some trouble against this Dan River defense ever since they switched to a 1-2-2 zone. They're rushing some shots and not getting any favorable looks in the paint, plus when they miss it's leading to a few transition opportunities for the undefeated Wildcats.
Re'Shaun Myers, the 6-foot-1 senior guard coming off the bench, makes a nice drive and dump off to 6-foot-6 senior reserve Gabe Long. Coach Kenny Murphy of Dan River has to like the contribution he's providing thus far. It increase the Wildcats' lead to 29-21 with 2:58 to go in the second quarter.
9:05 PM: Dan River is doing a really good job to start off the second quarter of keeping Bruton's guards out of the lane. Defensively, they are tops in the state in 2A in fewest points allowed for a reason, keeping foes under 40. Gabe Long, a 6-foot-6 senior center, comes off the bench to grab a couple of steals. Ethan Driskill is doing damage from three-point territory as well.
Driskill's conversion pushes the advantage to 23-17. The Dan River fans get no their feet and make lots of noise after junior multi-sport star Tremaine Edmunds throws down a thunderous jam. A time-out by Coach Joe Dillard of Bruton might be a good idea right about now.
Kapri Doucet is in a funk right now for Bruton and will have to step it up for the Panthers to mount a comeback. Bruton's offense is looking much like it did in the first part of the Martinsville game in the State Semis, where they went 14:30 without a field goal. Dan River is riding a tremendous 13-0 run and the Wildcats are up 27-17 with 4:28 before half-time after a couple of makes from the foul line.
8:58 PM: One quarter of b-ball action is in the books here in the 2A State Championship at VCU and it's Bruton in the lead, trying to hand Dan River its first and only loss of the season en route to claiming their first state title in 14 years.
End 1stQ in 2A Championship - - Bruton 17, Dan River 14
The Panthers converted four straight free-throws to end the first quarter, two each by Marcus Carter and Shaquan Edwards. Meanwhile, Dan River, which is +4 on the glass, is 0-for-4 from the charity stripe.
8:52 PM: Although I thin the faster pace favors Bruton slightly, Dan River is holding their own with the up and down action. Junior Tremaine Edmunds really flies up the court in a hurry, although he misses a pair at the foul line. That's something we mentioned in both the Preview and in Pre-Game; foul shots are going to be critical to the Wildcats since that's not of their strengths.
Dan River is starting to get stops and ratchet it up defensively. Six-foot-1 junior guard Curtis 'Q' Stephens is getting in the lane, too. His penetration on two consecutive trips down the floor, finishing one with a floater, puts the Wildcats up on Bruton by a count of 14-11 with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter. Defensively, the Wildcats have gone to what appears to be a 1-2-2 zone from my seat here on press row.
8:46 PM: After missing their first five shots from the field, Dan River gets on the board on a put-back from two-sport standout Tremaine Edmunds. The junior being highly recruited for football was an All-Courthouse Conference First Team selection on the hardwood, and is the son of ex-NFL player Ferrell Edmunds, an assistant for the basketball team. Dan River goes up 5-2 on a three-pointer from junior 6-foot-1 guard Curtis 'Q' Stephens, one of the team captains.
Bruton comes right back to take the lead 8-7 with 3:51 to go in the first quarter as senior guard Lonnie Swinton (Roanoke College commit) drains a three-pointer, and then Kapri Doucet (JMU football commit) gets a steal and is fouled, hitting 1 of 2 at the foul line.
It's raining three-pointers in here. Ethan Driskill, the main outside weapon for Dan River, connects to cut the Burton lead to 11-10 following another deep bomb by Swinton. We've got just under three minutes left in this fast-paced, up-tempo opening quarter.
8:40 PM: The 2A State Championship and nightcap on Saturday in the 2014 VHSL Tournament is underway as Bruton wins the opening tip. Marcus Carter misses a three-pointer, but redeems himself the next trip down after a Lonnie Swinton steal by scoring inside. Dan River misses its first shot attempt around the cup and Kapri Doucet grabs the rebound.
Just from the first two minutes of play, Bruton looks a step quicker at the guard spot, whereas Dan River is bigger in the front-court.
8:25 PM: We're moments away from tip-off and player intros for the 2A Boys Basketball State Championship, featuring the Bruton Panthers and unbeaten Dan River Wildcats. These two teams have the best combined record/winning percentage of any matchup in this field, so fans are expecting and hoping for a barn-burner.
Bruton, which avenged its only loss to Brunswick when they won by 18 over the Bulldogs in the 2A-East Regional Championship, leans on its deadly backcourt combo of Marcus Carter and Lonnie Swinton, two seniors that routinely hit for 20 points. The Panthers will need a strong game from Kapri Doucet, a JMU football signee, around the basket and for him to stay out of foul trouble.
Dan River has a very athletic bunch much like Bruton and are tops in the state defensively, holding opponents under 40 points per game. In the front-court, the Wildcats have the trio of Edmunds' in Terrell Edmunds (Virginia Tech football commit), Tremaine Edmunds and Tyleik Edmunds. All three hit the boards hard. They'll need their backcourt to D' up Carter and Swinton, and to make a higher percentage of their free-throws than usual to complete an undefeated season.
8:05 PM: Who said third time was a charm? It's actually the fifth as Central-Wise finally gets over the one team that had been a thorn in their side all year, the Gate City Lady Blue Devils. They avenge those four losses to win the 2A Girls Basketball State Championship on Saturday night at VCU in Richmond, outscoring them 14-4 in the fourth and decisive quarter.
GIRLS HOOPS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL - - CENTRAL-WISE 47, GATE CITY 36
Let's go over the numbers . . .
47: (24-6 Overall)
City 38: (25-3 Overall)
Don't go anywhere because coming up next it'll be the finale for this VHSL State Basketball Tournament in 2014 with the 2A title match in Boys Hoops between the undefeated Dan River Wildcats and Bruton Panthers. Coming into the State Tourney, we felt it had a great chance to bet the best game of the bunch and generally over the years the last game of the tourney is as memorable as any.
7:59 PM: It's looking all but over here in the 2A Girls Basketball State Championship as the Lady Warriors from Central-Wise are moments away from capturing their first ever title, leading Gate City 47-38 with under a minute to play.
Wise trailed at half-time and at the end of three quarters. However, they stayed persistent throughout, not going away when Gate City made its run and closed the third period with a big three-pointer from Logan Reynolds to get within a point. It appears that the fifth time will be a charm for them after all. Gate City was 4-0 vs. Wise coming into this matchup, but it's the fifth one that meant the most with the state title on the line and that will be headed to the Lady Warriors.
7:53 PM: The way Wise-Central has performed since the final minute of the third quarter is nothing short of outstanding. Coach Robin Dotson's Lady Warriors really want this one bad after four losses to Gate City during the season and they are performing efficient at the offensive end with great intensity on defense, out-hustling the opposition to loose balls.
One specific sequence might've illustrated it best. After Annie Church, a freshman that has played well beyond her years in this game, hit 1-of-2 at the foul line to push the lead up to 42-36, it was Kayla Mulkey chasing down the miss on the second attempt for a crucial offensive rebound
Gate City has gone cold offensively and turnovers have plagued them dearly. The Lady Blue Devils are used to this stage, making their sixth State Final Four appearance and trying to win the state title for the first time since 2006. But for a 14-2 run to happen, a lot of things have to go wrong for one time and a lot of things need to go right for the other. They're going right for Wise.
7:44 PM: All of the momentum in the world is riding on the side of the Wise-Central Lady Warriors, who trailed by four late in the third quarter until Regan Davis' three-pointer. Wise opens the fourth quarter scoring the first six points, three coming on an enormous three-pointer in the corner right in front of us on press row by Logan Reynolds.
Reynolds has played fabulously in this game, both scoring and distributing with no turnovers through 23 minuets of action. Wise's game-plan has been nothing short of superb and they are executing superbly in the half-court.
With 5:03 to play, it's Wise on top by a count of 40-34 on Gate City, and the Lady Blue Devils look like they don't know what hit them. They have to get stops on the defensive end to trigger some offensive fireworks.
7:38 PM: What a finish to the third period for Wise, which is seeking its first win over Gate City after four losses to them on the season and in the process trying to win their first ever state title.
Five-foot-4 senior guard and captain Regan Davis went 0-for-5 from the field in the first half. Davis couldn't have picked a better time to score her first points, draining a deep three-pointer just in front of her team's bench at the horn. A huge play and momentum boost for Wise.
End 3rdQ in 2A Girls State Championship - - Gate City 34, Central-Wise 33
The turnovers are up to 16 for Gate City compared to only five for Wise. Literally, the Lady Blue Devils seemingly coughed it up possession after possession, and they have to shake off the cobwebs and start forcing the action with hard drives inside. Both Morgan Gose and Hannah Kilgore have three fouls apiece, while no Wise starter has more than two.
7:33 PM: With a minute left in the third quarter, it's Gate City Girls up by a count of 34-30 in the 2A State Basketball Championship here at VCU. Wise has scored only six points in this third quarter after 12 points in each of the two previous quarters. We're seeing the Gate City defense clamp down on the inside game and the Lady Warriors aren't finding much success from the outside.
Logan Reynolds got the touch going late in the first half and her 12 points is rally keeping her team in it as she's navigating the defense, into the paint and making Gate City concentrate on her quite a bit.
If the turnovers continue for Gate City, this one will definitely remain close like three of the meetings have been this year.
7:25 PM: It's early in the third quarter and Wise-Central is still hanging around against Gate City, only down by two. Wise is controlling tempo and this is a team that has the ability to put up a lot of points as illustrated by the fact they've scored 70-plus points on eight separate occasions. That isn't necessarily a ton for a Boys team, but for a Girls team it definitely is.
Gate City has over 10 turnovers in this game and that's something Coach Kelly Houseright knows her team will have to correct to capture their second ever state title.
7:17 PM: Some half-time numbers to crunch and much on as Gate City Girls lead Central-Wise by a whisker in the 2A State Championship . . .
Stats at the Half:
City Girls 25:
You see a trend with the last name Gose for Gate City? Yeah, me too. They're carrying the Lady Blue Devils, who have 18 fewer shot attempts and somehow lead the game. Turnovers by them and a ton of offensive rebounds for Wise have done that to them. Wise weathered the run and is playing about as well as they can. Another burst is probably coming, and they'll need to get to the foul line more in the second half to pull out a win.
On another note, this thought came to me. Can you imagine beating a team four times and losing to them in the fifth meeting in the State Championship? Gate City is hoping that doesn't happen to them.
7:11 PM: Just when it looked like Gate City was starting to pull away, Wise answers thanks to Logan Reynolds, a 5-foot-7 junior and one of the team captains, sparking a 7-0 run to close the half. She hit the team's lone three-pointer of the half as well.
2A Girls Championship at the Half - - Gate City 25, Central-Wise 24
We'll have some statistics to go over momentarily.
7:05 PM: Nearing the end of the second quarter, it's Gate City clinging to a 21-15 lead on Central-Wise. One thing Wise has been unable to do with a lot of success is shooting from the outside. All of their points have come inside the arc and they didn't go to the free-throw line once, which would help their cause considerably.
Gate City has done a good job of keeping the fouls down, to only three team personals, while making their run. They are starting to catch some defenders out of position not moving their feet properly, thus earning themselves trips to the free-throw line. Reserve Jordan Houseright just knocked down two at the foul line to extend the lead to eight, their largest of the game and the Lady Warriors in that danger zone, desperately needing one of those outside shots to fall.
6:58 PM: One quarter is in the books in this 2A State Girls Basketball Championship between Gate City and Central-Wise. What caught my attention about this game is that they not only met in the 1A-West Region Championship with Gate City winning 44-38, but they have played four times on the season. All four previous meetings have been won by Gate City, three of them by six points or less.
Central-Wise is hoping the fifth time is a charm against their Clinch Mountain Conference 40 rival. Early on, they were in control and Coach Robin Dotson was very pleased with his team's play at both ends, especially freshman guard Annie Church scoring six points in helping the Lady Warriors build a 10-4 lead.
Coming right back was Gate City with a giant 13-2 blast, led by their standout senior Morgan Gose with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, sinking a couple of three-pointers in the process.
End 1stQ in 2A Girls Championship - - Gate City 17, Central-Wise 12
6:50 PM: Greetings again as it is time for our Sixth Session of LIVE Blogging for the 2014 VHSL State Basketball Tournament at the Verizon Wireless Arena in the Stuart C. Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Earlier on, we had two more Champions crowned to bring the total to 10 as Altavista Boys and Chilhowie Girls won in different fashions. Altavista had to knock off a fellow defending State Champ that was ranked #1 all season long, while Chilhowie avenged an eight-point loss to a Honaker team in the regional final with a convincing win for their first ever state title.
For those that missed our previous Blog Entries, you can see them at the links below.
To see the 3A Championship Blog (Session #1) Click Here
In addition to the Blogs, you can follow the Hatfield Sports Twitter feed for periodic updates and tidbits, too.
Underneath are the Championship results so far and what's on the docket on this Saturday that will close out the High School Basketball season, which comes one day before Selection Sunday for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Division I level.
2A State Championships on Saturday:
- W1 Gate City (25-2) vs. W2 Central-Wise (23-6) - - March 15 at 6:30PM
1A State Championships on Saturday:
1A GIRLS FINAL - - CHILHOWIE 60,
6A State Championships from Friday:
6A GIRLS FINAL - - COSBY 53, STONEWALL
5A State Championships from Friday:
5A GIRLS FINAL - - PRINCESS ANNE 57,
HIGHLAND SPRINGS 52
4A State Championships from Thursday:
4A GIRLS FINAL - - LAKE TAYLOR 57,
WILLIAM FLEMING 50
3A State Championships from Thursday:
3A GIRLS FINAL - - SPOTSWOOD 56,
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 [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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