- Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 16:10
- Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 16:10
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They saved their best for last. On Saturday, in front of a partisan Knight crowd, in the hostile confines of Spotsylvania High School (SHS), the Foxes (12-3, 18-5) stepped into district history by winning the JV Battlefield District championship for the second year in a row. After defeating the Spotsylvania Knights (12-3, 16-5) by 20 points (58-38), the King George High School boys’ junior varsity basketball team left no doubt in the minds of anyone, that they are simply the best junior varsity boys’ basketball team the area.
During the season, the Foxes split victories with the Knights; losing by one point at the Foxes
Den, and defeating the Knights in double overtime by four points, at the SHS gymnasium.
For Foxes boys’ junior varsity head basketball coach, Neil Lyburn, the victory was sweet, as it marked a significant milestone in his career, as the fourth boys’ junior varsity basketball title on his athletic resume. Lyburn has won one championship as the coach of Courtland and three with the Foxes. Lyburn, and his assistant coach Irving Taylor, truly have the “Midas touch”. Elated over the victory, he attributed his latest success to his team’s will to get the job done. “From the first day, to the championship they have improved 100 percent,” Lyburn said. “I have players that stepped up from day-one, which improved their chances of getting more playing time. They worked their hearts out every day in practice, and they loved playing together as a team. These kids did everything that was possible to make themselves better.”
Throughout the season, Sam Sharpe and De’Quan Whiting have served as the Foxes’ one-two punch offensive combination. Combined with the 17 points that he scored during Saturday’s championship, Sharpe has finished the season with 249 points. As for Whiting, his lightning fast reflexes resulted in 220 points. Collectively, from Nana Gyan, who is the ultimate x-factor when it comes to controlling the post zone, to the nifty court general Chase Elan, the Foxes have played more on the level of varsity than junior varsity.
During the first half, the Knights who were heralded as the district regular season champions, made the game competitive, as they jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first two and a half minutes. After scores from Gyan, Elan, and Sharpe, the Foxes cut the Knight lead to 14-12, before the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, after an assist from Whiting to Sharpe, who notched a three-pointer, the Foxes were in front (16-14) for the first time in the game. The Knights seemed to regain the advantage by tying the game at 23-23, with scores from Bradley Anderson, Bilal Marlor and Logan Chandler, with 40 seconds left in the half. However, just before the halftime buzzer, the Foxes would take the lead, as Sharpe scored two foul shots to put the Foxes ahead, 25-23.
With the game on the line, the Foxes coaching staff inspired their team to leave nothing on the court, because the next 12 minutes would determine the true bragging rights to the Battlefield District. “I told them, don’t come out of the locker room if you don’t have heart,” Lyburn said. “In the second half, we were going from baseline to baseline—if they (the Knights) were going to beat us, they would have to do with their best for the next two quarters.”
As fate would have it, the Foxes dominated every aspect of the game in the second half. From Gyan ripping down critical rebounds, to Sharpe, Whiting, And Elan running the Knight defense into a state of bewilderment, the Foxes were completely in sync. Midway through the third quarter, Dominique Turner extended the Foxes lead to 31-25. The Knights bravely fought back with scores from Anderson and Darius Carter to cut the Fox lead to four points (37-33). To the Knights’ dismay, Gyan gave the Foxes breathing room by connecting on two clutch foul shots to close out the quarter.
With the crowd screaming for a Knight rally, the Foxes poured it on in the final quarter. The Knights could never make up ground, as the Foxes opened the quarter on a six-two run. While the Foxes collectively destroyed the Knights transition attack with steals, and deflections, the clock ticked away the remaining seconds. In fact, in the final minute and a half the Knights missed six consecutive foul shots. Foxes Sharpe, and John Buckner scored the final points for the game.
Foxes JV complete regular season with a blast
Team speed, and execution are signatures of Foxes boys’ JV basketball. On Tuesday, February 7, the Foxes boys’ junior varsity basketball team defeated the Courtland Cougars 51-28. Sam Sharpe (14 points), and De’Quan Whiting (13 points) combined for 27 points, while Cougar guard, Lorin Lee scored 13 points in a losing cause for his team. Later in the week, during an away game, the Foxes completed regular season competition, by defeating James Monroe by 30 points. Both victories secured their destiny towards an eventual championship showdown with number one seed, Spotsylvania.
The Cougars quickly felt the Foxes’ wrath in the first quarter, as Sharpe led his team on a 17-6 run. Sharpe scored 10 of the Foxes 17 points. Cameron Jones and Lee combined for six points for Courtland.
In the second quarter, the Cougars made a game of it. After Miquel Mitra, Jones and Lee collectively led the Cougars on a 11-4 run, the Foxes closed out the quarter with a 25-19 lead. The Cougar offense featured three 3-pointers in the quarter.
Throwing caution to the wind, the Foxes offense exploded in the third quarter. With Whiting leading the way with steals and assists, Nana Gyan, Sharpe, Raheem White, and Dominique Turner stifled the Cougar defense with 18 additional points. The Foxes’ patented fast break offense had left the host Cougars in a state of disarray.
In the final quarter, as the Cougars backpeddled, the Foxes continued pushing the ball up the court for a litany of scoring opportunities. With the exception of a jumper by Josh Williams, the Cougars’ transition game was relegated to four foul shot opportunities.