3 Bruton Beats 8 Grafton 53-50

background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Final - - #3 Bruton
53, #8 Grafton 50:

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>A Bay Rivers District showdown took place on Friday
night in York County at Bruton High School, where the
host Panthers edged the visiting Grafton Clippers, 53-50 in front of a packed
to capacity crowd.

won the first meeting over the Clippers, 64-59 back on January 3rd.
style=> This will be the last meeting between the two
schools considering the Panthers will play in the postseason in Group 2A and
the Clippers participate in Group 4A.
But both battled as if a Championship was on the line.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's become a big rivalry.
style=> It's really like an early State Tournament
preview with the crowd that comes and the intensity," stated
class=SpellE>Bruton senior guard Marcus
Carter, an All-State candidate.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They came back a couple times and took the
class=GramE>lead, we came back a couple times and took the lead.
style=> It was back and forth, and felt like a State
(Tournament) game. They'll probably be
the toughest team we'll play until the playoffs come and it should set us up
good with having to defend, stay calm and get through the pressure."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For much of the first half, Grafton controlled the
action and built a 10-8 lead after a first quarter in which the two teams
combined for 18 fouls. Out of the gate,
the Panthers started 1-of-15 from the field and trailed 17-9 when senior guard
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Lonnie Swinton hit
a three-pointer. However, shortly
thereafter, Swinton was whistled for his third
personal foul.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Even without Swinton,
class=SpellE>Bruton would make a run to energize the home faithful,
closing the half by going 5-of-8 from the field.
style=> The final shot before the break that put them
in front was drilled by reserve
normal'>Jalen Carr from
long distance off a pass by Carter.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Behind the stellar play of senior guard
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Joey Miller, who scored 14 of his 18
points in the second half, Grafton would respond from a seven-point deficit by
going on a 19-10 spurt. In addition to
Miller's drives to the hoop, Preston
class=SpellE>Kiedinger and freshman
normal'> Greene combined to sink five three-pointers, the last one coming with
4:08 to play that would give the Clippers a 46-43 lead.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>After that, Bruton ran off
eight unanswered, highlighted by a falling away three-pointer in the corner by
class=SpellE>Swinton. The
Panthers were able to turn Grafton over six times in the final period and
neither team scored in the final 1:48.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>While there was an offensive flurry from both sides in
the second half, defense got the job done in the end for Bruton
as they were able to complete the regular season sweep of a Grafton team that
is coming off back-to-back appearances in the Group AA Division 4 State
Championship game.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Without the district now, you still kind of look at it
as a local thing because you want to be the powerhouse in the area and Grafton
had been that the previous couple years," commented Bruton
Head Basketball Coach Joe Dillard.
style=> "I think we've gotten our name out there now,
feel like we can step up in big games and can play.
style=> Rivalries like that bring nothing but the
best out of two teams."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Ranked #1 in the state in Group 2A for most of the
season, Bruton began the season 12-0 overall with 11
wins by double-figures. They then ran
into a reigning three-time State Champ in Brunswick at the Lawson Classic at
Virginia State University. There, the
Bulldogs handed Bruton its only loss to date, 58-52.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was a long bus ride home back from Virginia
State. Most people sat out there in
shock, but we didn't dwell on it a lot. But
we took it as a good thing. Most teams don't
go to the State Championship games without a loss.
style=> It's better now than later," believes Carter,
who hopes to maybe see Brunswick again in the postseason on their quest to a state

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We've just got to play better defense and not rely on
our shot. We've got to get out on the
break, punch the ball to the hole and get those and-1's
like we did in the second half."



background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Player of the Game:
Bruton G Marcus Carter - -
his own admission, Carter didn't shoot the ball particularly well, going
7-for-15 from the field without a make from three-point land.
style=> What he did do well in the third and fourth
quarters was get to the rack. On the
evening, he made 7-of-11 shots inside the arc, and in the second half played
aggressive, finishing with nine trips to the foul line.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In addition to his scoring prowess, Carter grabbed six
rebounds and made four steals, his last one coming in the closing seconds when
Grafton was looking to tie the score on a three-pointer.
style=> His senior leadership down the stretch proved
to be instrumental.



background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Keys to Victory:

- - Taking Care of the Basketball:
their athleticism to apply some defensive pressure and cause turnovers, the Panthers
only turned it over four times over the final 24 minutes after committing five
turnovers in the opening period.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Basketball is a game of mental mistakes.
style=> The team that makes the fewest mistakes has
the better chance to win," noted Dillard.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>As the game went on, Bruton
started to solve Grafton's tandem-and-three defense that they opened with and
get higher percentage shot attempts.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was a little bit of sloppy play and shooting at the
beginning, but we knew we had to take care of the ball at the end to keep us in
the lead throughout the fourth quarter," said Carter.
style=> "Limiting the turnovers and picking up the
defense were definitely important."

#2 - - Responding to the Run:
style=> Part of making adjustments is being able to
respond to the other team's run with one of your own.
style=> In this game, Grafton started in front,
class=SpellE>Bruton battled back, the Clippers then re-gained control
and the Panthers got the final run in to answer their BRD rival.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's a game of runs," Dillard pointed out. "We had a
little quick 7-0 spurt, got a time-out and we knew they were going to come
back. We stayed focused on our job and
knew they had a couple sets they were going to in the clutch.
style=> The key tonight was not getting beat on those
sets twice."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Miller got loose in the second half for Grafton, though
the Panthers kept each of the other four starters to single-digits and didn't
let them get easy opportunities at the rim.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We let Joey get to the hole a lot of times, but their
main guys around him, like #20 the shooter, we wanted to get a hand in his face
and contain them," Carter remarked.

#3 - - Shaquan
the Sparkplug: A junior guard that
came off the bench in this game,
normal'>Shaquan Edwards really
picked up the scoring slack for Bruton with trio of
Carter, Swinton and JMU football signee
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Doucet going
a combined 11-of-30 from the floor.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Edwards chipped in 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and the
plays he made were all timely. His
three-pointer late in the second quarter brought Bruton
within one. In addition, he forced a
crucial turnover before the half and his partial block of Greene on a
three-point attempt preserved the lead with under a minute to go.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"He's been challenged.
He had three or four key plays that can make him Player of the Game and
I wouldn't shy away from that at all," Dillard said of Edwards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Early in the year, he got in the starting lineup and
started to progress. He had a couple of
defensive setbacks and that's fine, I'm a defensive coach.
style=> I don't care how many points you score, you've
got to play D'. He started getting
better and this was the perfect opportunity for him to show himself and he
did. I'm very proud of him."

style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Postgame Audio with
class=SpellE>Bruton Coach Joe Dillard
style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Rod Johnson's Facebook Photo

Final Stats:

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Panthers 53:
Marcus Carter - - 19Pts. 7-15FG, 5-9FT, 6Reb. 4Stl.
Shaquan Edwards - - 11Pts. 4-5FG, 2Ast.
Kapri Doucet - - 6Pts.
2-7FG, 7Reb.
Lonnie Swinton - - 6Pts. 2-8FG, 2-5 3's

Clippers 50:
style=> (14-3)
Joey Miller - - 18Pts. 8-12FG, 3-4FT, 5Ast.
Preston Kiedinger - - 9Pts. 3-8 3's, 2Stl
Isaiah Moore - - 8Pts. 3-4FG, 2-5FT, 7Reb.
Cle'Von Greene - - 6Pts. 2-6 3's, 4Reb. 3Ast.



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as State Basketball Analyst for
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the
Network. Check out
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related updates,
and you can also read his work in the
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Suffolk News Herald
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>.
To contact Matthew, please e-mail
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, and don't forget to listen to him
every Saturday from 10AM to Noon on
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, plus watch him on the
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