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Jeff Forest is be-Deviled

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Rusties exorcise Cav offense

By Mike Forster

  Rustburg 57, Jefferson Forest 46.

Rusty, the Red Devil mascot, must have been casting spells, or whatever it is that demonic talismen do.

That would be one way to explain Rustburg's dominating performance in dispatching a visiting Jefferson Forest crew.  

The other explanation has to do with the Red Devils playing with more determination and teamwork.  Those attributes went a long way in shutting down the high-potency Cav attack.

The game featured two of the more exciting players in the Seminole District:  Jefferson Forest's Jake Johnston and Rustburg's Tresjon Pilcher.

The two didn't disappoint.  Johnston was one of the few bright lights for the Cavs, weaving his way through the Rusty phalanx on numerous drives.  His efforts contributed 17 points to the Cav cause.

Pilcher was devastating.  He was Johnston's equal in his mastery of navigating the paint.  He also found himself on the right end of a number of fast breaks.  Had he not gotten into foul trouble early in the fourth quarter, Pilcher may well have put up more than the 21 points he had for the evening.

"Lately, we've been playing well," said Rustburg Head Coach Brantley Shields, noting that Rustburg has won four of its last five games.  That makes the Rusties one of the hottest teams in the Seminole.

Shields attributed the win over JF squarely to his charges' defensive acumen.  "We wanted to shut down (JF's) two big dogs," said Shields, referring to Johnston and Tyler Lucy.  Those two combined for 28 points, well below what we've come to expect from them.

Additionally, sharpshooter Sam Price was held to a pair of treys, modest by his standards.

Shield was only moderately pleased, however.  While this was the first time this season the Cavs have been held to under 50 points, Shields had set out an audacious goal of keeping them under 30.

We suspect he'll take the win, nonetheless.  The win was the first for Rustburg in Seminole play.

For Jefferson Forest, it was a squandered opportunity.  It may have been one of the worst performances by a JF team in Head Coach Paul Smith's six-year tenure.  It certainly was one of the sloppiest.  Nobody could be happy with it.

The loss lumped the Cavs (1-4) together with the Rusties and Brookville in the ignominious "one-win club" of the Seminole.

That's a club to which no team wants to belong.  For the Cavs, however, their play against Rustburg did little to dispel the notion that they don't belong in that club.

 

Even worse

Things got worse on Saturday night, when the Cavs visited Seminole power E.C. Glass.

The Hilltoppers dominated, taking a 53-34 win over the intruders.  The 'Topper defense was smothering, keeping the Cavs to a total of 13 field goals for the night.

Meanwhile, the Glaziers used their size advantage and their superb outside shooting to methodically pull away over the course of the game.

Here's what's most disconcerting:  JF will likely play either Heritage or Glass in the district tourney opener (for Division 4-level teams).  

So, between now and then, the Cavs need to figure out how to win such a contest, or face a premature  end to a season that still holds some promise.

Of more urgency, of course, is for the team to try and figure out how to beat teams such as Rustburg, a squad that matches up with JF quite nicely, at least on paper.

There's plenty of opportunity for this Cav crew.  Let's see if they seize it.