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Boys Basketball: Perimeter points are decisive for James Monroe

WHEN CHARGERS PACK IN ZONE

DEFENSE, YELLOW JACKETS SEAL

DISTRICT WIN WITH 3-POINTERS

By STEVE FRANZELLO

The staple of James Monroe’s success in the Battlefield District this season has been its quickness in transition and its bruising inside play.

But on Tuesday at Chancellor, the district-leading Yellow Jackets rode a wave of 3-point shooting to turn back second-place Chancellor and move a step closer to their first regular-season title in 20 years.

Led by senior Jaamir Bumbrey’s five 3-point baskets and 21 points, JM broke open a close game in the third quarter and then held off the Chargers, 73–61, for their 17th victory in 19 games.

The Yellow Jackets (17–2, 11–1 in the district) host Eastern View Wednesday and King George on Friday. If they win both of those contests, the championship will be theirs, now matter what fellow contenders Culpeper and Chancellor do on Friday.

“This was a big win for us,” said JM coach Antonio Coghill. “Starting with Courtland last Friday, we’ve looked at our last four games as four quarters. Now we’ve got just two to go.”

The Yellow Jackets drained 11 3-pointers in the game, including four during the second quarter, when they outscored Chancellor 15–9 to help build a seven-point lead at the half (32–25).

Two other seniors, Bruce Johnson and A’darius Brown, showed their accuracy from behind the arc to spark the run.

Brown buried two treys that helped ignite a 12–2 spurt by JM in the final four minutes. Johnson, who finished with 15 points, also went deep twice. His second 3-pointer from the left corner was a buzzer-beater before intermission.

“We saw them come out in their zone and we knew the 3-pointers were going to be there,” Bumbrey said. “It was just a matter of whether we could make them.”

The Yellow Jackets settled that issue with their accuracy, especially in the second half. Their success from long range helped spoil Chancellor’s defensive strategy of shutting down JM’s 6-foot-9 center Te’Quan Alers.

“We went in trying to pack it in with our 3–2 zone and take away Te’Quan inside,” Chargers coach J.P. Gibbons said. “I think it was the right call and worked until they hit five of six 3-pointers at one point.”

Alers grabbed eight rebounds and scored 11 points after netting 24 against Courtland on Friday. But he had to work hard against Chancellor’s big men, Donald Fryar and Ben Watkins.

Fryar was a force on the backboards with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Watkins chipped in nine points and eight boards.

“Their game plan was to stop us inside, so we knew we had to swing the ball around and hit our open shots,” Johnson said.

Bumbrey was a one-man scoring machine in a key stretch of the third quarter. With four minutes left in the period, the athletic guard scored 11 straight points to help JM maintain its seven-point advantage (49–42).

That run gave the Yellow Jackets a big lift heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

Tony Scott connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with five minutes left to give JM its first double-digit lead, 58–47. Two minutes later, Alers scored in the lane to put the Yellow Jackets in command, 65–49.

“Big players step up in big games, and tonight we had some guys do that,” Coghill said. “We hadn’t been shooting well from the 3-point line lately, but tonight we made some and we needed every one of them.”

Another one of JM’s guards, senior Julian Bumbrey, showed his athleticism with nine points and eight rebounds against the taller Chargers.

Chancellor (14–7, 10–3) made one final run at the JM lead with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Down 66–49, Fryar, Watkins and Chris Holmes helped the Chargers trim the deficit to 71–60, but that was as close as they could get.

“[JM’s] 3-point shooting was a big key,” Gibbons said. “But I’m proud of our guys. They played with a lot of effort and a lot of energy tonight.”

The Chargers conclude their regular season at Spotsylvania on Friday.

    J. Monroe 17 15 17 24 — 73

    Chancellor 16 9 17 19 — 61

    Scoring

    James Monroe (17–2, 11–1): Te’Quan Alers 11, A’darius Brown 9, Julian Bumbrey 8, Jaamir Bumbrey 21, Torreik Ferguson 3, Marcus Finnie 2, Bruce Johnson 15, Tony Scott 4. Totals: 28 6-12 73.

    Chancellor (14–7, 10–3): Darrin Baker 0, Dre Edwards 9, Donald Fryar 19, Alex Hamn 0, Quincy Hayes 6, Chris Holmes 10, Josh James 1, Darius Sanders 6, Charles Tillery 1, Ben Watkins 9. Totals: 23 14-25 61.

    Three-point goals: James Monroe 11 (A. Brown 2, J. Bumbrey 5, T. Ferguson, B. Johnson 2, T. Scott). Chancellor 1 (D. Edwards).

Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440

sports@freelancestar.com

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