- Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:26
- Published on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:26
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2011 VHSL Group AA, Division 4 State Quarterfinals
On Saturday at the Stuart C. Seigel Center in Richmond, the Foxes boys’ varsity basketball team (12-7, 22-7) was defeated by the Liberty-Bealton Eagles (7-0, 18-6) 97-90. After a nine-year hiatus from post-season State Championship competition, the Foxes battled the Eagles for four quarters and three overtimes before the dust finally settled in favor of the Eagles.
In the end the Foxes left everything they had on the floor; however, the Liberty-Bealton Eagles had a little more in
their gas tank. Long before the whistle sounded, both teams lost seven key starters to foul trouble.
Losing the services of Andew Mighty, Xavier Colbert and Darius Raymond may have spelled disaster for most teams, but the Eagles forged ahead. As for the Foxes, they were minus the services of Damion Carroll, DJ Lewis, Derrick Joines and Kelsey Monroe. Lewis and LJ Baylor played a crucial part in the Foxes’ scoring with 17 points each.
The Foxes top scorer, Matt Mohr, finished with 26 points, including four 3-pointers. Mohr also played for 42 minutes, while precariously competing with four fouls. In a game of this magnitude, both teams knew there would no tomorrow and only the hope of next season.
While Ryan Ramirez led the Eagles in scoring with 32 points, Preston Isner finished with 21 points, and Mighty finished with 18 points for the Eagles.
The started the game with a 4-0 run; however the Foxes, after settling down, counted with two back-to-back 3-pointers by Mohr. Minutes later, JP Gordy gave the Eagles a 13-11 advantage, but their rally was short-lived as the Foxes defense shut them down. After a succession of lay-ups from Lewis, the Foxes led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the lead changed twice with the Eagles taking a 15-13 advantage in scoring. At the end of the quarter, in buzzer-beating fashion, Ramirez poured in 8 points, including a lay-up with seconds remaining to tie the score at 26-26.
At the start of the third quarter, the Foxes offense clicked on all cylinders as Lewis sparked a 13-2 run with a 3-point basket — extending the Foxes’ lead to 39-28 at 4:05. The Eagles countered with Ramirez cutting the Fox lead to 39-34. In the remaining minutes the Foxes were able to sustain a 45-36.
Sensing urgency in their game plan, the Eagles pressed the Foxes into a fast-paced style of basketball. Not only did the change in strategy work, but the Eagles also managed to take the lead on two Mighty foul shots, 57-59. Seconds later, after a missed jumper by Carroll, Mohr rebounded and scored a lay-up to send the game into overtime.
During the first overtime, the Eagles, with the help of Isner’s foul shooting, sustained lead of 1 to 3 points throughout the period. With 7 seconds remaining, Wyatt drew a foul from Eagle guard Rashawn Latimer as he scored a 3-pointer to bring the Foxes within 1 point of tying the game. After scoring the foul shot, Wyatt had tied the game at 74-74 — and shortly afterward, the game was in its second overtime.
The Foxes took a 79-76 lead after Mohr scored a 3-pointer and a lay-up. Isner responded with a jumper to recapture the lead in favor of the Eagles (79-82). Moments later with less than a minute left, LJ Baylor scored 3-pointer to give the Foxes the lead at 84-82. Latimer would redeem himself and save the Eagles’ season by scoring a 3-pointer, and two foul shots tie the game at 84-84, and send the game into it’s third overtime.
After a 7-0 run during the game’s third overtime, the Eagles would claim victory and advance into the semi-finals.
Shortly after the game, Eagles head coach Pat Frazier held high regard for the Foxes. “King George, what an incredible team,” Frazier said. “We knew they were going to be good, and we knew they were tough. My hats off to them, they never quit. They are definitely one of the better teams in state history.”
Due to press deadlines results of the Tuesday game featuring Liberty-Bealton versus Hidden Valley were not available. District rival Culpeper was also defeated on the same day by Fluvanna, 82-75, leaving the State Championships free of Battlefield District competitors. The championship game will be held at the Seigel Center, on Saturday, March 12, at 9 p.m.
The road to the championships has not been easy for either team. As for the Eagles, they were coming off Regional Championship loss to Potomac Falls, 96-58.
While the Foxes rebounded after losing to James Monroe for the Battlefield District Champion, to win three games in a row, including a victory over Tabb for the Regional Championship. “In the last month, this has been kind of the way it’s been,” Frazier said while reflecting on this team’s post season battles. “During out district game (tournament), in the first round we down 10 and went up by 15, but we won by four points — I don’t know how I am still breathing.”