Double overtime heartbreaker
|With the score tied in the first overtime, Harry Eldridge (far left) of Buckingham gets off a potential game-winning shot with 1 second remaining, but Middlesex’s Markus Hammond (left, #25) is about to swat the shot into press row to force a second overtime. Hammond had 8 rebounds in the game. (Photo by Tom Hardin)|
Buckingham slips by MHS in state tourney
by Tom Hardin
Middlesex and Buckingham battled through four quarters and two overtimes in a classic high school basketball game in the Group A Division 2 State Tournament at the Siegel Center in Richmond last Saturday afternoon.
In the end, the experienced Knights of Buckingham (21-3) came away with a 73-65 win over the Chargers of Middlesex (12-10) to advance to Friday’s state semifinals.
Middlesex played with poise and shot 52% from the field in taking a 30-22 lead at halftime.
The Chargers pushed the lead to 39-30 on a Ryheem Lockley free throw with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Buckingham then rallied behind a pressure defense, offensive penetration and accurate shooting to slowly carve away at the Middlesex lead. The Knights finally tied the game at 43-43 on a 3-pointer by Caleb White with 5:25 to play in the fourth quarter.
Davonne Bryant hit two 3-pointers to put MHS up 49-45 with 3:50 remaining, but the Knights would not go away. They rallied to cut the Charger lead to 51-50 on a steal and layup by Taylor Boyers with less than a minute to play.
MHS guard Michael Bess made a steal with 24 seconds to play and was fouled. He made one of two free throws to give MHS a 52-50 lead.
With only 12 seconds remaining, Harry Eldridge drove the lane for Buckingham and made a fall-away 10-footer to tie the game at 52-52 and send it to overtime.
In the first overtime, Buckingham had a 58-54 lead when Bess made a clutch 3-point play on a drive to the basket to cut the Knights’ lead to 58-57 with 1:49 remaining.
Lockley calmly nailed two free throws with 1:11 left to put MHS in front 59-58.
A Boyers basket put the Knights back up 60-59, and Lockley responded by making one of two free throws with 31 seconds to play to tie the game 60-60.
Buckingham got off a shot at the buzzer but it was swatted away by Middlesex’s Markus Hammond and the two teams headed to a second overtime.
Good shooting by the Knights and turnovers by the Chargers was the story of the second overtime. Buckingham took a 66-60 lead with 1:15 remaining and the Chargers would not get closer than 4 points the rest of the way.
“We were in our comfort zone in the first half and we certainly had our chances to win it in regulation and the first overtime,” said MHS coach Patrick Weller after the game.
“It was an exciting game to be a part of and we represented Middlesex High with pride,” said Weller. “Everyone in the Middlesex community should be proud of this team.
“It was a great experience to be part of this effort,” continued Weller. “Even when we were 4-7 early in the season this team never quit working. The players got us here and they created a sense of good feeling in the community with what they accomplished.”
Buckingham coach Russ Gowan praised the play of Bess and Lockley. “Bess is a great player and if you leave him open he’s going to score,” said Gowan. “Lockley is very tough down low. Give Middlesex a lot of credit for hanging in there and fighting hard. I have a feeling they are going to be back here again.”
The Chargers shot 52% in the first half and only 30% in the second half. Buckingham shot 39% in the first half and a sizzling 62% in the second half.
The Chargers had 6 turnovers in the first half and 11 in the second half for a total of 17 turnovers. The Knights had 16 turnovers in the game, but only 7 in the second half.
MHS did not attempt a free throw in the first half, but made 12 of 16 in the second half. The Knights managed to make only 12 of 21 free throws in the game.
Ryheem Lockley led Middlesex with 30 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. The 6’4” freshman also made 2 of 3 three-point attempts.
Michael Bess played an outstanding floor game against the Knights’ pressure defense and had 14 points, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Davonne Bryant nailed 4 of 10 three-point attempts for 12 points and also had 3 steals.
Tayvon Morning tallied 4 points, Cody Hunter had 3, and Jeremiah Morris 2.
Markus Hammond gave the Chargers energy on defense and collected 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.
Tarian Ayers and Caleb White paced Buckingham with 18 points apiece, and Taylor Boyers added 14.
Buckingham will play Lebanon (20-5) in the state semifinals at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 12, at the Siegel Center. Dan River (14-8) will play James River-Buchanon (26-2) in the other semifinal at 12:15 p.m. The championship game is set for Saturday, March 13, at 5 p.m. at the Siegel Center.
MHS athletic director Brad Norris thanked the community businesses whose support allowed the Chargers’ state tournament game to be broadcast on both WRAR and WKWI radio stations.
Norris said, “On behalf of Middlesex High School Athletic Department, I would like to personally thank the following businesses for making the broadcast of our state championship games possible: A&N Service Center, Deltaville; Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance, Dale Moore, Hartfield; By Pass Auto, Saluda; Dr. Eric Miller, DDS, Urbanna; Hurd’s Inc., Deltaville; J&W Seafood, Deltaville; Four Seasons Insulation, Urbanna; Bill Hudgins Pontiac GMC, Gloucester; Middlesex Metals, Urbanna; Fleet Brothers, Hartfield; Mid-Pen Ride Share, Saluda; Urbanna Builders Supply, Saluda; Kathleen M. Hall, CPA, Urbanna; Northern Neck Wireless (Northern Neck WiFi), Kilmarnock; and Bon Secours Urbanna Medical Center, Urbanna.”