York overpowers MHS to capture tourney title
by Tom Hardin
The Middlesex High School boys finished second in the MHS Holiday Basketball Tournament on December 28-29 in the John S. Clements Memorial Gym in Saluda.
MHS downed Northampton 55-50 in the semifinals as freshman forward Ryheem Lockley scored 16 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had 4 steals. In the other semifinal game, York ripped Grafton 49-28.
In Tuesday’s title game, Group AA York jumped to a 30-7 halftime lead behind an aggressive zone defense and coasted to a 63-43 win over the Chargers. Lockley had 12 points and 12 rebounds to pace MHS.
In the boys third place game, Grafton whipped Northampton 58-30.
MHS 55, NHS 50
The Chargers got off to a slow start but their defensive pressure eventually wore down Northampton in the fourth quarter. Northampton led 29-26 at the half and 41-39 going into the fourth quarter.
“Our defensive pressure kept us in the game,” said MHS coach Patrick Weller, noting that his team had 19 steals, including 8 by senior guard Michael Bess.
Lockley had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead MHS. Forward Cody Hunter had 13 points, Davonne Bryant 10, Michael Bess 9, Jeremiah Morris 4 and Jaspar Smith 3.
“If we can get 4 guys to consistently score double figures every night then we will be competitive when it comes time for district play,” said Weller.
In addition to his 13 points, Hunter had 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Morris added 4 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Jaspar Smith had 2 steals.
“Jaspar and Markus Hammond gave us a spark off the bench,” said Weller. “Ian Brady of Northampton was on fire as he hit four 3-pointers in the second half. Markus did a great job defensively on him in the last 2 minutes, and he didn’t get a shot off after we put Markus on him. His defensive play in the last 2 minutes was a big key to our victory.”
Brady led Northampton with 16 points with 14 of them coming in the second half.
York 63, MHS 43
In the championship game, a tough York zone rattled the Chargers. York led 15-3 after the first quarter and 30-7 at the half.
The only baskets made by MHS in the first half were a 3-pointer by Bess and two 15-foot jump shots by Lockley.
“Going up against Group AA York we had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look right from the opening tip,” said Weller. “I expected us to come out and play loose and relaxed, but we played just the opposite. In the first half we had more turnovers (15) than shot attempts (13).
“Our guys did battle hard in the second half after they relaxed and played our game,” said Weller. “We outscored them 36-33 in the second half and showed a lot of heart by not folding and just giving up the fight.
“We continue to struggle in the first half in games and I am still searching for the reason,” continued Weller. “I am looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish when we play a complete basketball game of 32 minutes. Until we do that, we will continue to struggle.”
In addition to his 12 points and 12 rebounds, Lockley had 2 blocked shots for the Chargers. Bess added 9 points, Smith 8, Bryant 6, and Hammond and Morris 4 apiece.
Hammond also had 4 rebounds; Bess, 4 steals and 6 assists; Smith, 3 assists and 2 steals; and Bryant, 3 assists.
The MHS varsity downed Rappahannock 46-36 on Tuesday and the JVs won 40-36 (more details next week).
The Chargers will visit King William on Friday, January 8, in their Tidewater District opener. On Tuesday, January 12, the Chargers will host King and Queen.
JV games begin at 6 p.m. and varsity games follow at 7:30 p.m.