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Drifters win Northern Neck District championship

Black & Gold pride is alive and well in Drifter-land. After a hard fought battle that took two seasons of program rebuilding, Drifter varsity boys’ head coach Jonathan Parker has finally begun harvest the spoils of a championship.


Last Friday, at the Drifterdome, the Drifters pulled off the second buzzer-beating win of the season against the Northumberland Indians. Less than a month ago, during an away game, the Drifters defeated the Indians 51-50.  In a similar dramatic fashion, the Drifters edged the Indians, 42-40. “I was really nervous at halftime, but my guys fought hard in the second half, and came back to get the victory,” Parker said.

Last season, the Drifters struggled with a 2-9, 5-18 record; however, this season, life has changed in the Northern Neck, as the number one tournament seed Drifters’ legendary swagger has returned with a 10-1, 16-5 record. More importantly, the Drifterdome will have to incorporate more wall space for another championship banner—and potentially more if they are successful in this week’s Northern Neck Tournament Championship.

Forget opening jitters, the Indians were dead set on ruining the Drifters’ senior night and a potential district crown. After an exchange of baskets, the Indians seemed to have the momentum, with a slim 5-4 lead. However, the Drifters, sparked by a Keane Foster fast break lay-up, mounted a 12-3 run to close out the quarter, leading 18-8.

In the second quarter, the Indians roared back, as Kyle Elmore and Wesley Jackson collectively posted 17 points. With 2:38 left in the half, #11 tied the game (21-21) with a free throw, and less than 30 seconds later, Elmore gave the Indians the lead with a lay-up. The Indians neutralized the Drifters offense, and closed the half out with two back-to-back, three-point baskets from Elmore, to take a 30-21 lead.

The Drifters returned to form in the third quarter, with the momentum beginning to slide out of the hands of the Indians. After scoring four points from the foul line and two back-to-back three-point baskets, the Drifters had cut the Indian deficit to one point. With a minute and a half left in the quarter, Foster nailed a three-point basket that gave the Drifters a slim 36-34 lead.

Refusing to give up ground, the two teams battled neck and neck throughout the remainder of the game. With 27 second left in the game, the Drifters tied the Indians up with two jump-ball possessions, as they precariously held on to a 42-40 lead. After two failed attempts at long-range desperation jumpers, Ethan Harbin ripped the final Drifter rebound down to give them the game.  Moments later, the Drifters cleared the benches for a mass floor celebration, and the fever for Black & Gold pride would burn once more.

 

Junior varsity game

In the final two minutes of play, the Northumberland boys’ junior varsity somehow summoned enough energy to edge out the Drifters boys’ JV, 43-36. From start to finish the momentum swung like an out of control pendulum. As fate would have it, the Indians scored a key three-point basket, and the rest was history.

After taking control of the boards on both ends, the Indians soared to a 12-6 start in the first quarter. With Indian point guard Kyle Elmore creating scoring situations, while Mac Smith, and Malike Brown nailing long-range baskets, the Indians offense seemed to be in sync.

The Drifters rallied back in the second quarter to cut the Indian lead to 21-20. Mikey Mothershead led the Drifter offensive surge with six points, while Lamar Lucas gathered key rebounds to sustain the rally.

Lucas scored eight points in the third quarter to propel the Drifters to a 32-25 lead. Ball possession and forcing the Indians into turnovers played a crucial role in the Drifters lead. The Drifter defense limited the Indians to two points in the quarter.

In a reversal of fortunes, the Indians’ man-on-man press limited the Drifters to four points, while their offense led by Ahmad Muhammad, and Day Quon Blue combined for 10 points to end their season with a 43-36 win.

Leonard Banks
Sports editor

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