Bruton Reaches 2A State Final

Group 2A State Tournament Semifinals:
Final - - #1
class=SpellE>Bruton 56, #2 Martinsville 36

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Sometimes even the best of teams get in a rut.
style=> That's what happened last Saturday in Norfolk
at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center for the Bruton
Panthers, who started 0-for-19 from the field with 10 turnovers and didn't make
their first shot until 1:30 left in the second quarter during their Group 2A
State Tournament Semifinal showdown with the Martinsville Bulldogs.

was able to shake off the slow start and go right by the Martinsville Bulldogs
thanks to a flurry of 3's from 5-foot-9 senior point guard
normal'>Lonnie Swinton. A trio of
perimeter makes from Swinton put the Panthers, who trailed 9-2 after one
quarter of play, in the lead by a count of 17-15 at intermission.
style=> From there, Bruton
never looked back and cruised to a 56-36 win over Martinsville to punch their
ticket to the State Championship on Saturday at VCU.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"For a little bit, we were frustrated," admitted
class=SpellE>Bruton senior guard Marcus
Carter. "We couldn't hit a
shot. We weren't playing our
basketball. Usually, we hit a couple 3's
here and there. We usually get to the
rack and get to the line, but we really couldn't do that the first half.
style=> Lonnie hit those three 3's in a row, it got
us pumped up."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In a battle between two teams ranked #1 and #2 in the
state in 2A in the preseason (
normal'>Bruton was #1 and
Martinsville #2), the offensive highlights were few and far between in the
game's opening half. The Martinsville
2-3 zone defense bottled up the Panthers in the early going, and despite
numerous chances, the Bulldogs failed to increase their lead as they only shot
37.5% from the field without a three-point make before half-time.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was the approach on the 2-3 zone
I thought. We were stagnant, looking at
it not attacking it and getting inside on that zone, and settled a lot,"
replied Bruton Head Basketball Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Joe Dillard when asked what contributed
to the sluggish play at the start.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"That hurt us at the beginning.
style=> We started moving guys around so we could get
the ball inside. With the inside game
class=GramE>came the inside-out.
That's typically what happens.
When we hit 3's good, it's a rhythm thing."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Swinton scored 20 points to lead the
class=SpellE>Bruton offense with nine of those coming in the 1:30 of the
first half on outside bombs. Carter
nearly hit his scoring average on the nose, finishing with 19 points, seven
rebounds and three blocks as he shook off a cold shooting first half.
style=> He scored 15 points after half-time.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Martinsville, which saw its season end at 20-8
overall and a victory shy of competing for their 14th state title, they were
led by 6-foot-7 sophomore center
normal'>Devonnte Holland and
6-foot-4 senior forward Cameron Turner.
style=> Holland recorded a double-double with 11
points and 14 rebounds while rejecting six shots.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pushing their win streak to 14 games,
class=SpellE>Bruton is now 26-1 overall and a victory away from
capturing their first state title since 2000 when ex-Virginia Tech quarterback
Bryan Randall guided the Panthers to the Championship.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's hard to advance from last year.
style=> We've gone from six losses, losing the big
games, semifinals, to one loss, winning the big games now, finals," remarked
Dillard. "It's one more goal left and we
hope we execute on that Saturday."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Last season, Bruton fell to
Spotswood 70-69 in the Group AA Division 3 State Tournament Semis at VCU in a
game where they made 23-of-24 free-throws.
They're headed back to Richmond, taking on an undefeated Dan River squad
that eliminated reigning three-time State Champ Brunswick in the semis.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's kind of like a revenge feeling.
style=> You've got to get back and you've got to get
back and win," Carter said. "We ended
our season last year in the semifinals on that court.
style=> This year, we're going to try to end it in a
good fashion, not like last year."

Player of the Game:
style=> Bruton PG Lonnie
Swinton - -
"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Dubbed "PG-14," due to his position and jersey number,
Swinton was battle stomach pains before the game, which he thinks was from
whatever he ate the night before, yet he was able to find the touch late in the
second quarter on his way to pouring in a game-high 20 points.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It feels like that was the worst game we had for the
first half, but I just tried to help my team the best way I can.
style=> I'm here when they need me," Swinton
commented. "When I hit that first one,
it just felt good, so I knew I was good after that one."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Clearly, Swinton's shooting can be an engine starter
for the Panthers. They start defending with
more activity and passion when he's hitting shots, and he brings a pinch of pizzazz
to the table.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"He builds our rhythm and that sends our defense into
overdrive," Dillard noted.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Swinton also grabbed seven rebounds, had two assists,
two steals and converted 9-of-11 at the foul line.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Keys to Victory:

- - Make Foul Shots Count:
In the first half, Bruton shot an icy cold
17.4% from the field. However, at the
free-throw line, they were 6-for-7 (85.7%) and they made a concerted effort to
attack the gaps in the 2-3 zone in the second half and
draw contact. The Panthers did that
rather successfully to build their lead.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Over the final two quarters of play, the Panthers went
17-of-23 from the foul line to finish 23-for-30 there, a very solid 76.7%.
style=> The same couldn't be said for Martinsville,
which barely shot over 50% by going 9-of-17 on the evening.

#2 - - Contain Holland:
of Martinsville's first nine points were scored by Holland, who drew the
attention of a few college coaches in attendance.
style=> By half-time, he had six points, seven
rebounds and four blocks. But in the
second half, he couldn't find the touch around the rim or away from the basket,
going 2-for-11.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>From the second quarter on, Bruton
did a good job of denying his touches, and then when he did catch the
basketball, they crowded his space. They
had to turn to a couple of others defending him when JMU football signee
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Doucet got
in foul trouble.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We survived the first half with Carter and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Daniel Jones only having one and zero
fouls. When we saw that, we put both of
them on the big," Dillard pointed out. "To
limit him to 11 points is pretty good for somebody that's 6-7 and we don't have
a 6-3 or 6-4 guy at all. That length of
Daniel Jones kicks in and he's doing some things that are really going to help

#3 - - Points off Turnovers:
statistical category really told the story afterwards.
style=> That was points off turnovers.
style=> Bruton won that
department 19-8 as they were able to turn Martinsville over 26 times, including
15 in the first half when their own offense was sputtering to keep them in the

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>While Bruton is known for its
offensive firepower, having eclipsed the 100-point barrier on five occasions
this season, their defense is what triggers a lot of their production

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"These guys score, not me," Dillard said.
style=> "I'm not an offensive genius.
style=> I know how to make defensive adjustments and
make plays work on defense. We have a
five-man front defensively that does a lot for me."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>When Bruton was able to press
and speed the game up, that made it hard for Martinsville to keep pace, even
though the Bulldogs have been able to score with the best teams in 2A.
style=> Bulldogs Coach
normal'>Jeff Adkins admitted coming in that he didn't want to it to be a
fast-paced game, and although it was played in the half-court most of the way,
the Panthers imposed their will defensively in the second half.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Once we get that 22 we have, that full-court press,
rolling, it gets us, the bench, coaches and the crowd fired up," Carter pointed
out. "It gives us more energy to keep
playing. We know once we get a couple
steals, the other team starts to get frustrated."

none;text-underline:none'>Postgame Presser with the Bruton

Final Stats:

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Panthers 56:
Lonnie Swinton - - 20Pts. 4-13FG, 3-10 3's, 9-11FT, 7Reb. 2Ast. 2Stl
Marcus Carter - - 19Pts. 6-15FG, 7-8FT, 7Reb. 2Ast. 3Blk. 2Stl
Shaquan Edwards - - 5Pts. 1-4FG, 2-2FT, 5Ast.
Daniel Jones - - 4Pts. 2-3FG, 2Reb.
class=SpellE>Doucet - - 3Pts. 0-4FG, 3-6FT, 8Reb.
class=GramE>2Ast. 3Stl.

Bulldogs 36:
style=> (20-8)
Devonnte Holland - - 11Pts. 4-15FG, 3-6FT, 14Reb.
Cameron Turner - - 11Pts. 5-6FG, 6Reb.
Carter - - 6Pts. 2-3FG, 2-4FT
Jay Dandridge - - 4Pts. 1-3FG, 2-2FT, 4Reb. 6Ast.



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 at 10AM on
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style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>,
plus watch him on the
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