Title hopes come down on Indians
After winning five straight games to reach the Group A Division 2 State Quarterfinals, the road has ended for the Northumberland Indians. Pictured is Northumberland’s Dashaun Murphy boxing out William Monroe’s Jeff Early last Friday in the opening round of the state playoffs.
A five-game winning streak developed by the Northumberland Boys Basketball Team was snapped within 32 minutes of action by the Dragons from Stanardsville won 74-44 in the Group A Division 2 quarterfinals last Friday night.
“It was horrible,” stated Northumberland Coach Michael Stevenson, after a poor shooting night for his teams.
Neither team lived up to their potential offensively during the first eight minutes of play. Despite numerous shots including “stick backs” under the Dragon’s basket and some long range bombing by both, the score was tied at 8-8. But the second period saw the Indians offensive frustrations begin the rise as the Dragons began to hit and went out on top 23-13 by intermission time.
“Defensively we played well in the first half,” Stevenson said, “But we couldn’t score.”
The Indians opened the second half with a different defensive strategy. They went to the half court trap and man-to-man.
“We tried something different to slow them down and get some energy going,” Stevenson said. But the plan didn’t work on either end of the court.
Northumberland did get its point production up to 10 points, but the Dragons went on a tear and scored in 30.
“Since we couldn’t score, we had to leave our defense to give our kids a chance to compete. That’s when they did their damage,” Stevenson said.
Both teams hit for 21 points in the final period of the game.
Stevenson said the Dragons were without a doubt the best passing team Northumberland had seen this year.
“They are a great passing team,” Stevenson said. “They had great chemistry. They played a lot together (in summer and fall leagues). They like each other and play their roles well.”
Northumberland was led in scoring by Aaron Lewis with a game tying high of 17 points. Kyle Elmore had nine, Tevin Carter eight, Dorian Morris six, Keith Bryant and Wesley Jackson two each.
Morris had a game high 11 rebounds, Bryant six and Carter and Dashaun Murphy five each. Elmore had three assists and a game high three steals. Bryant and Murphy each blocked a shot.
The Dragons were lead by Gary Morris with 17 points followed by Jeff Early and Markel Williams with 13 points each.
“We as a team did our best playing and we as coaches did our best this year. Not having a consistent super star, we had to play as a team and they really enjoyed playing each other,” Stevenson said. “There was no complaining, watching them in practice, they really enjoyed playing together.”
He also reminded them they had won the district tournament and that they were this year’s Region A Division 2 champions.