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Sharp shooting keys Chargers semifinal win

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Davonne Bryant of Middlesex sails past a Mathews defender to score 2 of his game-high 23 points in the 69-57 win. (Photo by Tom Hardin)
by Tom Hardin

Middlesex guard Davonne Bryant hit five 3-pointers, including three in the first 61 seconds of the second half, to lead the Chargers past Mathews 69-57 in the semifinals of the Tidewater District boys basketball tournament on February 18 at the John S. Clements Memorial Gym in Saluda.

Middlesex led Mathews throughout Thursday’s game but had to hold off a late Blue Devil surge to preserve the win in front of a near capacity crowd.

Bryant finished with 23 points, Ryheem Lockley tallied 18 and Michael Bess had 14.

Middlesex led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter and began to pull away in the second quarter. A Tayvon Morning layup and Cody Hunter free throw gave the Chargers a 31-19 lead, but the Blue Devils scored the last 5 points of the quarter to cut the lead to 31-24 at the half.

Bryant’s three 3-pointers to open the third quarter stretched the Charger lead to 37-24, but the physical Devils would not fold.

Mathews cut the lead to 9 points late in the third quarter, but a dunk by Lockley off an alley-oop pass by Bess, a 3-pointer by Bess, and a Lockley dunk and two free throws from a flagrant foul on the play pushed the Middlesex lead to 54-37.

Mathews continued to hang around in the fourth quarter behind an aggressive full-court press and the Devils again cut the lead to 9 points with 3:18 to play.

Bess and Bryant came up big in the final minutes with some clutch free throw shooting to preserve the Charger win.

Hunter, Morning and Jeremiah Morris each scored 4 points for Middlesex, and Jasper Smith added 2.

The Chargers shot 44% from the field, 54% from 3-point range (7 of 13), and 65% from the free throw line.

Lockley had 8 rebounds, Hunter 6, and Morris 4. Bess had 6 assists.

CJ Kelly led Mathews with 26 points.

“It was a good win for us,” said Middlesex coach Patrick Weller. “Going into the game we knew that Mathews was going to play physical and play hard to the very end. We did a good job of building leads throughout the game, but then we would relax and make a few careless mistakes and let Mathews trim the lead. 

“We had far too many turnovers in the game due to some careless play on offense, and our boxing out on defense was very poor,” continued Weller. “However, we were able to counter that with some good shooting in the game, particularly from 3-point range and we did a real good job attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. 

“Davonne Bryant had a great game shooting the ball, which is what he does best. Michael Bess also played a great game managing the team and handling the ball.“

posted 02.25.2010

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