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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Knights’ miscues prove costly

Bradley Anderson was left alone for a rebound under the basket in the third quarter of the Conference 27 semifinals Wednesday at Spotsylvania High School.

But as the Knights’ senior center attempted to corral the board, the ball slipped out of his hands and out of bounds.

It was just that type of night for Spotsylvania in its bid to reach the conference championship game and earn an automatic bid to the 3A–East Regional tournament.

Spotsylvania dropped a 76–67 decision to Kettle Run, who will play No. 1 seed Culpeper for the conference title on Friday before moving on to regionals.

The Knights, who have three senior starters, were visibly upset after the loss, as they lamented a season that started with wins in 11 of their first 14 games, but ended with a five-game losing streak.

“It hurts,” Anderson said. “Kettle Run played a good game. But we sat there and we tried, we tried, we tried. We all played our hearts out, so there is nothing more we can do.”

Anderson ended his career in strong fashion with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Darius Carter added 18 points and nine boards.

But it wasn’t enough as the Knights continually had lapses on the defensive end that led to easy baskets for the Cougars (15–5).

Kettle Run senior guard Rashawn Latimer torched Spotsylvania for 24 points, while senior forward Eddie Benton scored 18.

“We let it get away from us,” Carter said. “No disrespect to them. They’re a good team. We just played terrible defensively.”

The Knights pulled within 58–56 with more than three minutes remaining when Carter had an attempt at a seemingly easy layup. But the ball rolled off the rim and Latimer answered with a baseline drive to give the Cougars a 60–56 lead.

Kettle Run made 12 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Reserve guard Justus Drakeford converted 8 of 10 from the line down the stretch.

“I think we missed a few layups that on any other night they go,” Spotsylvania coach Leonard Carlson said of Carter’s key miss. “They’re going to look back on the game and they’re going to be real hard on themselves, but that’s part of the game. There were a few key moments when we just didn’t quite execute like we normally do.”

The game started off fine for the Knights.

Carter hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and they held a 17–14 advantage at the end of the period. The Cougars opened the second quarter on a 10–2 run that was punctuated by junior forward David Eldridge’s breakaway dunk.

The Knights responded with a 10–1 burst, but Kettle Run regained the momentum by scoring the final five points of the first half to take a 30–29 lead into intermission.

“I think it’s a maturation on the part of our kids that certain situations, certain bumps in the road, they stayed the course,” Kettle Run coach Troy Washington said.

The Cougars will test their growth against the Blue Devils. Culpeper handed them losses of 20 and 30 points in the regular season.

“Even though they’ve gotten the best of us twice, we’re excited about the opportunity,” Washington said. “There are a lot of people that would like to be in our place so we’re going to take full advantage of it.”

Kettle Run 14 16 16 30 — 76

Spotsylvania 17 12 10 28 — 67

Scoring

Kettle Run (15–5): Eddie Benton 18, Brendan Deliee 6, Justus Drakeford 10, . Eldridge 7, Rashawn Latimer 24, Tyler Williams 0, Christian Yancey 0, Danny Mattson 11. Totals: 29 17-28 76.

Spotsylvania (11–8): Bradley Anderson 23, Danny Brooks 0, Darius Carter 18, Alan Courtney 6, Devin Kennedy 11, Bilal Marlowe 9, Jordan McCarty 0, Andrew Morgan 0, Eddie Waller 0. Totals: 23 16-21 67.

Three-point goals: Kettle Run 1 (D. Mattson). Spotsylvania 5 (D. Carter 3, D. Kennedy, B. Marlowe).

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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