The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Battlefield Boys Basketball Final: Alers uses vote setback as motivation
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
When Te’Quan Alers received the news, he was taken aback.
The James Monroe senior center, who stands 6-foot-9, is the leading scorer in the Battlefield District.
He helped guide the Yellow Jackets to the district regular-season title.
But when Battlefield Player of the Year voting was announced, Alers learned he finished behind Chancellor junior guard Chris Holmes.
After a brief period of disappointment, Alers regained his composure.
And on Friday night, he showed district coaches who voted on the award just what he’s capable of.
Alers scored 31 points and pulled down 20 rebounds as the Yellow Jackets stormed to their second straight district tournament title with an 80–72 comeback victory over Culpeper.
“Chris is a good player, but I feel I should’ve gotten that [award],” Alers said. “I think I proved myself tonight.”
Both James Monroe (22–2) and Culpeper (17–8) have qualified for the Region I, Division 3 tournament.
The Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils will host first-round games on Tuesday night.
On Friday, James Monroe was also aided by 20 points from senior forward Bruce Johnson.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 37–28 at halftime. They fell behind by 11 points early in the third quarter before Alers took over.
“We just couldn’t stop the big fella on the boards,” Culpeper coach James Thompson.
Alers scored 23 second-half points. He tallied 12 in the third quarter as JM went on a 13–1 run to take its first lead since the opening period.
“It felt good when he got started,” Johnson said. “It got the defense going. We were clicking on all cylinders, and we just took it from there.”
The Yellow Jackets led 52–50 heading into the fourth quarter. They began to separate in the final period when Julian Bumbrey (11 points) converted a three-point play to give them a 67–62 lead.
Senior guard A’darius Brown then delivered a no-look pass to Johnson on a fast break for a basket, and added a steal and breakaway lay-up to give JM a 71–62 advantage with less than two minutes remaining.
The Blue Devils, who were paced by Devonte Deans’ 27 points, got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
James Monroe coach Antonio Coghill said a second-half emphasis on “team basketball” propelled the Yellow Jackets to the victory.
“We got on [the players] about that at halftime. We were playing too much one-on-one basketball,” Coghill said. “We told them: ‘Don’t worry about who’s scoring, as long as we’re scoring.’”
Culpeper 17 20 13 22 — 72
JM 14 14 24 28 — 80
Culpeper (17–8): Anthony Banks 3, Henry Butler 16, Devonte Deans 27, J.P. Gorby 4, Mike Kenney 10, Nik Stewart 8, Adrian Strother 4. Totals: 26 19-26 72
James Monroe (22–2): Te’Quan Alers 31, Alex Baker 3, A’darius Brown 10, Julian Bumbrey 11, Jaamir Bumbrey 1, Marcus Finnie 4, Bruce Johnson 20, Tony Scott 0. Totals: 32 15-26 80
Three-point goals: Culpeper 1 (M. Kenney). James Monroe 1 (A. Brown).
CHANCELLOR 68, KING GEORGE 61
Holmes scored a game-high 21 points as the Chargers broke open a close game in the fourth quarter to edge the Foxes in the district consolation game.
Both teams have qualified for the Region I, Division 4 playoffs.
Chancellor will host Caroline on Tuesday. King George will host either Smithfield or Warhill, both of the Bay Rivers District, head coach Josh Luzier said.
Chancellor (17–8) revamped its starting lineup for Friday’s game against the Foxes.
The Chargers brought Holmes, senior forward Donald Fryar and senior guard Charles Tillery off the bench.
Head coach J.P. Gibbons said he wanted to use the lineup that twice helped Chancellor rally from double-digit deficits in a semifinal loss to Culpeper on Wednesday. The new lineup worked again, as Chancellor led 21–13 after the first quarter.
“We went with the lineup that showed the most effort,” Gibbons said. “They ignited us with their intensity and their effort.”
The Foxes (8–10) were paced by 15 points from sophomore forward Anthony Howard. L.J. Baylor and Damion Carroll added 13 points apiece.
King George 13 21 15 12 — 61
Chancellor 21 15 13 19 — 68
King George (8–10): L.J. Baylor 13, De’Shon Brown 10, Damion Carroll 13, Alon Clippard 8, Keenan Frye 2, Anthony Howard 15, Jamonte Parker 0. Totals: 22 11-16 61
Chancellor (17–8): Darrin Baker 2, Dre Edwards 10, Donald Fryar 4, Quincy Hayes 13, Chris Holmes 21, Josh James 6, Chris Patterson 10, Darius Sanders 0, Charles Tillery 2. Totals: 26 12-19 68
Three-point goals: King George 6 (L. Baylor 2, D. Carroll, A. Clippard 2, A. Howard). Chancellor 4 (D. Edwards 2, C. Holmes 2).
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526