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Boys basketball, Commonwealth District tournament: Indians prevail on 3rd try




After two losses to Riverbend in the regular season, Stafford boys basketball coach Dan Tryon thought he finally knew how to defeat the Bears.

“I figured if we didn’t score 50 points, we’d lose,” Tryon said. “I guess I was wrong.”

Tryon was thrilled to be proved incorrect Friday night in the Commonwealth District tournament quarterfinals.

The fifth-seeded Indians kept their season alive with a 49–38 victory over the No. 4 Bears to avenge two regular-season losses.

Stafford (11–12) visits top-seeded North Stafford on Tuesday at 7 p.m. with a trip to the district championship game on the line.

The Indians dropped two games to the Wolverines in the regular season, including a double-overtime thriller.

“If we play with the same intensity we played with tonight, we’re definitely capable of going to the district championship game,” senior reserve forward Samuel Randolph said, “and further.”

The Indians were paced by 17 points from junior guard Dada Harris on Friday night. Randolph added nine key points off the bench, while senior guard Jacolby Hawkins scored nine as well.

Harris, an all-district performer last season, scored 15 of his points in the second half as the Indians slowly put the Bears (13–10) away.

“I didn’t want to force any shots,” Harris said. “I wanted to play within the offense. The refs were letting us play, so I had to adjust to the game. There was a lot of contact out there.”

Stafford played through it, especially at the end of the first half.

The Indians had surrendered a nine-point lead as the Bears rallied to take a 17–16 advantage.

But Stafford finished the half on a 7–0 run to take a 23–17 lead into intermission.

“That was huge, to go into the half with the lead, and some energy,” Tryon said. “The kids were pumped up and excited.”

Riverbend fell behind 39–28 on a 3-point play by Harris in the fourth quarter, but the Bears made one final push.

Junior guard Deion Scott’s 3-pointer pulled them within 39–34 with 4:12 remaining. But the Bears ultimately were undone by poor free-throw shooting, and Harris’ ability to knock down his foul shots.

Harris made seven of nine free throws in the final quarter. The Bears were 7-of-19 for the game.

“I wrote on the board before the game, ‘If you want to win big games, you’ve got to make free throws,’” Riverbend second-year coach Eric Davis said. “We didn’t do that tonight.”

The Bears were led by junior Tre’von Walton’s 13 points. Their fourth-place showing in the district this season is their best since they joined the Commonwealth in 2007–08. Riverbend had three juniors in its starting lineup.

“This year, we turned it around with a winning season,” Davis said. “Next year, we’ve got to compete for a title. I’m not going for anything less than that.”

    Stafford 14 9 9 17 — 49

    Riverbend 5 12 9 12 — 38


    Stafford (11–12): Sam Randolph 9, Aaron Mays 5, Jacolby Hawkins 9, Evan Greening 5, Dada Harris 17, Tanner Woodard 2, Kameron Mangin 0, Casey Schooler 2. Totals: 16 14-25 49

    Riverbend (13–10): Elijah Brown 3, DeAndre Davis 4, Omar Kemp 6, Deion Scott 8, Zachary Seay 1, Zach Sims 3, Tre’von Walton 13, D’Angelo Washington 0. Totals: 14 7-19 38

    Three-point goals: Stafford 3 (A. Mays, J. Hawkins 2). Riverbend 3 (D. Scott 2, T. Walton).

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526