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Boys basketball lays a collective gander egg

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All three fall in playoff openers

By Mike Forster

 

Liberty's season lasted exactly two days longer than did Jefferson Forest's and Staunton River's.

That's only because the Minutemen had an opening bye in conference playoff action.

All three local teams were felled in their first-ever games in their respective conferences.

All three losses, however, came at the hands of foes with which the teams are intimately familiar.

Staunton River faced the biggest mismatch of the trio.    Not only are the 17-5 William Byrd Terriers collectively bigger and stronger than their 3-17 guests, EVERY player is bigger.

With a chance to advance in the playoffs on the line, the Terriers left no doubt about this one, romping 78-50.

Byrd ran away with the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles by 15 points to open up a 28-point lead.  To their credit, the Eagles matched the Terriers point-for-point in the fourth.

Ramir Hunt had 17 points in his final River game.

"The season has been an emotional one," said SR Head Coach Brandon Harris. "We have had several games that were very close.  Losing six games by five points or less can take a toll, but our guys have been resilient.  They continued to compete night in and night out, regardless of the matchups.  I couldn't be prouder of these young men..They have represented the school, the program and, most of all, themselves well." 

JF managed to hang against Seminole champ E.C. Glass, eventually falling to the Hilltoppers, 72-61, to finish up the season at 9-14.

"Glass is very talented and athletic," noted JF Head Coach Paul Redgate. "They were able to create some turnovers that led to easy buckets and to some second-chance opportunities."

Alas, many of those opportunities came in the game's final quarter.  JF was within a point with only six minutes to go before the 'Toppers went to town.

Liberty had the most crushing defeat, largely because it was the most unexpected.  Brookville did in the M-Men, 53-49, in a game that mirrored the M-Men's entire season.

Just as Liberty went on an 0-6 run early in the season, they allowed Brookville to go up by 10 points early in the game's third quarter.

Just as the team got red hot late in the season (including a stunning win over Glass), the M-Men got it together against the Bees, actually seizing the lead when Chris Sharrett pumped in five quick points early in the fourth.

But, Liberty let it get away from them as Bee Ben Hogg went hogg-wild on them to lead the charge and end their season.

"I know our players are hurting right now, but they did a lot of good things this year," said Liberty Coach Jeff Monroe, who pointed out they tied for second in the district, going 6-1 and at home this year.  He attributed much of that success to some strong student fan support the team received during the year.