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Prep Boys Basketball: Wolverines closing in on district title
By STEVE FRANZELLO
Moments after North Stafford’s 54–41 victory over Brooke Point that clinched a share of the Commonwealth District title on Friday, some of the Wolverines players were already talking about their next practice.
That’s the competitive nature of this team, which has won 17 of its 20 games this season and earned the school’s first banner in boys basketball since 1986.
“Tonight was about respect for these kids,” North Stafford coach Brad Lear said. “We’ve been climbing the mountain all season long, and tonight was another step in the right direction.”
The Wolverines (17–3, 13–2 in the district) have a one-game lead in the loss column over Mountain View and can capture the championship outright with a win at Colonial Forge on Wednesday.
Despite winning eight of its last nine contests, North Stafford led Brooke Point and Mountain View by just one game heading into Friday’s big showdown.
With their seniors leading the way in front of a large senior-night crowd, the Wolverines made sure they didn’t waste the opportunity to put some separation between themselves and their pursuers.
Like he has done much of the year, senior point guard T.J. Jones led a balanced scoring attack with 13 points and a strong floor game. He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
Senior power forward Trejon McGee added 12 points nine rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots. Another senior, Tykie Nelson chipped in seven rebounds to help North Stafford win the battle on the backboards.
“We really wanted this game, and we want the championship all to ourselves,” said Nelson, who was one of the mainstays inside during an important stretch of the third quarter when the Wolverines expanded a seven-point halftime lead to 44–25.
McGee’s shooting and rebounding were also big keys during the second and third quarters. His 3-pointer from the left corner and another by Lyndon White helped add to Brooke Point’s shooting woes in the second half.
“We missed our first eight shots in the third quarter—our 3-pointers and our layups—it didn’t matter,” said Brooke Point coach Joe Kania. “And North just out-hustled us. They wanted it a little more than we did on senior night.”
After a slow first quarter that ended with the Wolverines clinging to a one-point lead (10–9), things began to open up once they began attacking Brooke Point’s zone defense.
After Nate Phelps scored on a putback to regain the lead for the Black–Hawks at the start of the second quarter, Usie Miller scored with a nice assist from Nelson to put the Wolverines back in front and they never trailed again.“We struggled with their zone a little, but after a couple of minutes we adjusted,” said McGee. “We worked on that in practice.”
In the fourth quarter, the Black-Hawks (13–7, 10–4) cut the deficit to 48–37 with three minutes left. But on the ensuing possession, Jones buried two free-throws to keep North Stafford in control.
Ryan Corp and Carlton Carter scored 10 points apiece to lead Brooke Point, which closes its regular season with a home game against Mountain View on Monday and a trip to Albemarle on Wednesday.
Brooke Point 9 12 4 16 — 41
N. Stafford 10 18 16 10 — 54
Brooke Point (13–7, 10–4): Carlton Carter 7, Mario Gills 10, T.T. Felder 6, Ryan Corp 10, Marquete Eddie 3, Jalen Cotton 3, Julian Swinton 0, Nate Phelps 2. Totals: 16 5-12 41.
North Stafford (17–3, 13–2): Justin Tuckson 0, Jordan Thompson 0, T.J. Jones 13, Khalil Jackson 0, Lyndon White 8, Keith Morris 0, Trejon McGee 12, Usie Miller 7, Taylor Damarre 0, Denzel Shumpert 0, Brandon Ravenel 9, Tykie Nelson 5. Totals: 17 17-24 54.
Three-point goals: Brooke Point 4 (C. Carter, M. Gills, R. Corp, M. Eddie). North Stafford 3 (L. White, T. McGee 2).
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440