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Prep Boys Basketball: Wolverines stay hot
By STEVE FRANZELLO
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Getting off to a fast start is an important key for most high school basketball teams.
For visiting North Stafford on Friday night, it turned out to be the difference in an exciting 60–57 Commonwealth District victory over Colonial Forge.
The defending district champions took charge early with their aggressive play on both ends of the court and then held off a furious rally by the Eagles in the closing minutes to capture their eighth win in 10 games.
The Wolverines (8–2, 5–1) built their only double-digit lead of the night at the end of the first period, 20–10, and then spent the rest of the evening fighting off a resilient Forge team that refused to go away.
“[Colonial Forge] can shoot the ball,” said North Stafford coach Brad Lear. “They kept battling and didn’t quit. But we didn’t either. It was an exciting game.”
The Wolverines kept the lead for the entire game, but not before Colonial Forge made things interesting in the second half in front of a vocal crowd.
After their slow start, the Eagles (7–6, 5–3) chipped away at the deficit and narrowed the lead to a single point on two occasions. Guard Marco Haskins’ 3-point basket made it 58–57 with 12 seconds left, but teammate T.J. Flood’s potential game-tying shot at the buzzer rimmed out.
Flood finished with a game-high 23 points including six 3-pointers) and Haskins and Ignacio Alleyne added 11 each. But in the end, the Eagles’ deficit was just too much to overcome.
“I’m proud of our boys—we battled,” said Colonial Forge coach Jason John. “North Stafford came out with a lot of intensity, but our kids fought back and gave ourselves a chance at the end.”
The victorious Wolverines got a big lift from three of their seniors—Lyndon White, Brandon Ravenel and Usie Miller—and sophomore Justin Tuckson.
Ravenel keyed their early spurt, scoring nine of his 12 points in the first quarter, when North Stafford made good on seven of its first 13 field goal attempts.
Tuckson (11 points) was another key in the early going with his offensive and defensive hustle. Miller came off the bench and provided 10 points and a strong presence inside to help the Wolverines win the battle on the backboards.
White, who led the Wolverines’ offense with 19 points, played a huge role in the victory, especially in the exciting finish, when he sank five of six free-throws in the final minute.
After trailing 51–43 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Colonial Forge trimmed the margin to 53–51 on an inside shot by Alleyne and then pulled to within one (58–57) on Haskins’ 3-pointer.
But White and forward Anthony Shegog both connected on free-throws to seal the win. Shegog’s second miss gave the Eagles one more shot, but they couldn’t convert as time expired.
“I was actually pretty nervous,” said White, who is a returning starter from last season’s championship team. “But coach Lear always says to relax and just get the ball over the rim. That’s what I did.”
Rebounding was a big concern for Lear heading into the game, especially on the defensive end against the taller Eagles. But with Shegog, who finished with 12 boards and two blocks leading the way, the Wolverines got the job done inside.
“We were definitely concerned about their offensive rebounding and we stressed that tonight,” said Lear. “We did a good job on their big people, that was a key for us.”
Besides the strong backcourt play of Ravenel and Tuckson, the Wolverines got a solid performance from another sophomore guard, Jalen Sarratt, who was making his first start.
“Jalen did a great job tonight,” said Ravenel. “We have really good chemistry on this team. Whenever we play to our potential we’re a force to be reckoned with. But we still haven’t played our best game yet.”
The Wolverines travel to Orange on Tuesday, while the Eagles visit Albemarle on the same night.
N. Stafford 20 11 14 15 — 60
Colonial Forge 10 17 13 17 — 57
North Stafford (8–2, 5–1): Justin Tuckson 11, Jordan Thompson 3, Lyndon White 19, Usie Miller 10, Brandon Ravenel 12, Jalen Sarratt 4, Even Skjellaug 0, Anthony Shegog 1, Jake Gallagher 0. Totals: 22 14-20 60.
Colonial Forge (7–6, 5–3): DeMarious Quick 3, Marco Haskins 11, Ignacio Alleyne 11, T.J. Flood 23, Gary Jennings 5, Winston Burgess 2, Javon Frazier 2. Totals: 18 12-23 57.
Three-point goals: North Stafford 2 (J. Tuckson, B. Ravenel). Colonial Forge 9 (M. Haskins 3, T. Flood 6).
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440