- Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:55
- Published on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:50
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After the annual King George High School Holiday Basketball Tournament that took place on Saturday, Riverbend and host King George have one thing in common, which is they both lost to tournament champion Nansemond River by 18 points.
Foxes lost to the Warriors, 63-45 in the championship game, while the Bears suffered nearly the same fate in the semi-final, 66-48. After a week off, Nansemond came into the hostile confines of King George determined to defend its undefeated record. Currently, the Warriors are 10-0, 4-0.
Using their height advantage, the much taller Warriors dominated their opponents in every aspect of the game. From the post to the perimeter, the Warriors left no doubt that they deserved the championship hardware. Nansemond has won 41 championships, including 400 plus wins attributed to its head coach, Ed Young.
The tournament featured four varsity teams (King George, Riverbend, Millbrook Nansemond), and one junior varsity matchup (Riverbend versus King George).
Semi-finals, Nansemond versus Riverbend
On Friday, during the first day of the tournament, senior, 6-foot-7 Warrior center Daniel Wallace ran amuck in the interior and exterior of the Bears court corps. Wallace finished with 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and 12 points. Warrior forward, Devon Oakley added 10 points, seven assists, six boards, two blocks, and four steals.
During first quarter action, the Warriors and Bears battled to a 15-15 tie. However, in the second quarter, the Warriors opened up a 43-33 lead, as they outscored the Bears, 20-7. Warrior junior, Scott Spencer added nine points, while Wallace contributed six in second quarter.
In the final quarter, the Warriors forwards collapsed around any incoming Bears that were bold enough to enter the post area. While the Bears managed to score 6-of-24 from the floor in the final period, they were also hampered by 28 turnovers. The deal breaker that ultimately tipped the scales for the Warriors was Spencer’s 21 points, that added to his seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Soon after the Warriors and Bears game on Friday, King George and Millbrook waged war on the floor. Fox forward Anthony Howard led all scorers with 19 points and eight rebounds. Howard’s teammate Sam Sharpe posted 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
Semi-finals, King George vs. Millbrook
After building an 8-3 lead in the first two minutes of play of the first quarter, the Pioneers soon saw their offensive labors slowly crumble, as the Foxes offense finally clicked into action. Qu’Shawn Allen threw the visitors from Winchester off-balance, as he penetrated the Pioneer defense with three late first quarter assists to Eian Chase and Jecolby White to take a 14-13 lead.
Howard’s seven-point performance midway through the second quarter lifted the Foxes to a 27-18 commanding lead. Lakin Hall added to the Fox offensive surge as he ripped into the Pioneers’ post for an additional four points.
Although the Pioneers attempted to slow down King George with their press defense, the Foxes extended their lead to 41-29.
In a desperate attempt to rally, the Pioneers focused on getting the ball to Zach Harrell. In spite of Harrell’s nine-point fourth quarter performance, it proved too little, too late, as the Foxes closed out the game, 64-50. Harrell later finished the game with 20 points.
Junior varsity, Bears vs. Foxes
On Saturday, at 3 p.m., fans were treated to a mini basketball preview of the future of area basketball, as Riverbend (4-2) and King George (2-5) competed in a junior varsity matchup. After a slow-paced game, the Bears ultimately prevailed, 41-24. Bear guard, Kris Terrell led all scorers with 12 points, three rebounds, and six assists. As for the Foxes, Aston Howard added eight points, while Brian Jenkins featured six points and two assists.
In first quarter action, both teams struggled with turnovers and miscues. Although transition issues became a factor in the low scoring 7-4 Bears advantage in the first quarter, the pace of the game picked up in the following quarter. After Jenkins, on an assist from Davis, scored the first basket of the second quarter, the Bears responded with a 6-4 run that resulted in a 13-10 lead. Lead by Terrell with four points in the quarter, including a buzzer-beating layup, the Bears closed out the quarter with a 6-2 run. The Bears led, 19-10 at halftime.
The Bears continued to lead throughout the second half. After building up a 30-20 lead in the third quarter, the Bears outscored the Foxes 11-4 in the final quarter to win holiday JV contest, 41-24.
The varsity consolation game featuring the Pioneers (2-8) and Bears (3-3) can easily be described as a track meet, with the center of attention on Bears standouts, David McCauley and Michael Holmes. While McCauley scored 20 points, five steals and four assists, Holmes lit up the scoreboards with 23 points and three steals. The Bears routed Millbrook, 80-64.
In the first quarter, the Pioneers opened the game with a 5-0 lead. Although midway into the quarter, the Bears cut the lead to 15-9, the Pioneers were able to sustain a four-point lead at the end of the period (17-13).
Before the final buzzer of the first half, the game became a track race, as both teams recorded 34 exchanges of possession and three ties. Although the Bears scored the final four points, it was not enough to overcome the Pioneer 34-31 lead at halftime. The Pioneers scored a total of three 3-pointers in the second quarter.
The Bears entered the second half of the game determined to establish a sustained lead, while limiting the Pioneers’ perimeter 3-point dominance. Ultimately, the Bears were successful in establishing a 51-45 lead going into the final quarter, but the Pioneers were deadly beyond the 3-point perimeter with three additional scores in the quarter.
Throwing caution to the wind, both teams unleashed everything left in their offensive arsenal in the final quarter. After 43 exchanges, in a span of eight minutes, the Bears stood in the winner’s circle with a 80-64 victory. In spite of an 11-point performance by Pioneer shooting guard, Zach Harrell, the Bears were victorious in the end with 14-point margin (80-64) of victory.
In the championship game featuring King George versus Nansemond, the Foxes faced a corps of Warrior forwards and centers, ranging from 6 foot 4 to 6 foot 7, and team with a 2012 season that featured 16 wins. The Foxes had an uphill battle against an undefeated team that literally lived above the rim.
Foxes starters, Jason Yowler (six foot 4) and Anthony Howard (six foot 2) did their best to keep the giants from Suffolk County off the boards, but in the end, the Warriors prevailed, 63-45.
Throughout the first half the Foxes held their own, as they tied the Warriors twice in the first quarter, while pushing Warrior center, Wallace beyond his endurance level. Although Wallace returned after a short three and a half minute rest in the second quarter, the Warriors could not shake their host off of their backs. The Warriors went into the third quarter with a 30-28 lead.
In the first three seconds of the third quarter, Wallace brought down the house, as he opened the quarter with roof rattling slam-dunk. The dunk sparked a series of Warriors scores, including an 8-1 run at the start that led to a 48-37 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the final quarter, the Foxes faced a 13-point Warrior lead, and their starting center (Yowler) stifled with four fouls. In the final minutes of play, with the game in the hands of the Warriors, both teams allowed their substitutes to finish the game.
King George will return to action on Jan. 1, as they travel to Liberty (Bealton) for a Conference 22 varsity matchup. Game-time is 7 p.m. On the following day, the Foxes junior varsity corps will return to Liberty for a 6 p.m. game. On Friday, both the varsity and junior varsity Foxes girls’ basketball teams will travel to Liberty. Game time is 6 p.m.