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Glass a pane for Eagles

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Knock River hoopsters from Regionals

By Mike Forster

  If, at the start of the season, you were asked which basketball team (boys or girls) would pick up a win in regional play, which team would you have picked?

Be honest, now.

If you had picked the Staunton River boys team, you’d have been right.

The Eagles of Moneta stunned the AA world by bouncing Broadway in the opening round of playoffs.

The Gobblers, who made it to the State (Div. 4) finals last year, fell to Staunton River in overtime, by the score of 54-51.

The Eagles took the long trip to Broadway.  But once on that stage, they made the most of it.

The Gobblers seemed to have control during the early going.

They held a 10-point lead toward the end of the third quarter.  Broadway’s attempt to increase that lead missed with a couple of seconds remaining.

River point guard DeShawn Martin wound up with the ball and launched a three-pointer from waaaaay behind the arc.  It fell good and the margin was down to seven.

River chipped away at that edge, until it was down to only three points, with a couple of seconds remaining.

Cam Holdren, who is best known for his bruising inside play, got the ball at the intersection of the baseline and the three point arc and time winding down.

Holdren’s shot was good and River was set up to take care of business in the overtime period.

Which it did.

With visions of a trip to the state tournament dancing in their heads, the Eagles faced Seminole District regular-season champion E.C. Glass on the hardwoods of Amherst.

While River seemed up to the task in the early going, the Hilltoppers’ stifling defense and inside height proved to be the difference.

The score? The Glaziers 59, the Rivermen 34.

It was an unequal ending to a game that stood 29-29 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

While Staunton River couldn’t seem to get it in gear, Glass caught fire.

After that tie score was achieved via a Holdren putback, the Hilltoppers called timeout and promptly went on a 19-0 tear.

Featured prominently in the run was Marjee Culver, who had back-to-back steals, which he converted into layups.

But, seemingly every Hilltopper got into the act.

Culver had 23 points for Glass, while River was led by Holdren’s 13.

River Head Coach Brandon Harris tipped his hat.  “E.C. Glass has got some good kids and the coach uses them well.”

Nevertheless, River far surpassed expectations.

At the start of the season, it would have been reasonable to set a goal of eight wins for Staunton River.  That’s pretty good, considering that it was only two years ago that the team won a total of two games.  And both of those came against Timberlake Christian Academy.

It is a measure of heart that the team won seven games in the regular season, chalked up that eighth win in the district tourney and piled on a ninth one against Broadway.

“We (the coaches) felt that we had this in us,” said Coach Harris.  “What matters is when the kids believe it.”

This group certainly showed that it believed it.”

 

Notes

-Holdren had 15 rebounds, giving him his fifth double-double in six games.

Last year, he was relied upon primarily as a defensive stalwart in the paint.  This year, it is obvious he has matured into an offensive force, as well.

-River was hampered by a 40% free throw shooting rate.  Glass shot 63% from the line.

-Rodney Kasey added nine points and Martin had seven for Staunton River.