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Brandon Harrison's last-second shots put JF atop Seminole basketball standings

By Mike Forster

If Jefferson Forest’s game with Rustburg is any indicator, 2009 should be a very exciting year, indeed.

The two teams put on a gallant duel with the Cavs prevailing 48-46 in overtime.

Forest’s Brandon Harrison delivered in the clutch not once, but twice.

The scrappy senior hit a flying layup off the glass with 1.4 seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 43 apiece.

In overtime, Harrison drove the paint, through a phalanx of Red Devils.   The 8-footer he pegged, with 2.6 seconds left, gave his Cavs the two-point win.

“He’s aggressive,” said Head Coach Paul Smith of Harrison.  “He sees openings and he’s a money player.”

Harrison’s payoff couldn’t have come at a better time.  The Cavs were reeling from two substantial losses (to Amherst and Appomattox) as well as from the departure of Jeff Miller, who moved out of state over the winter break.

“We looked like we were beaten, but then we stepped up,” said Smith.

Indeed, the Cavs were down by the game’s biggest margin, 41-36, with 1:30 left to play.

That’s when junior Colby Rhodes smoothly nailed a three-pointer from one o’clock on the arc.

Rustburg’s Antoine Davis responded by hitting both ends of a one-and-one to make it 43-39, with only 25 ticks left in regulation.

Forest’s Dylan Augenreich hit a 6-foot bank shot to cut the lead in half.

On the ensuing inbounds, Todd tenPas committed the foul to put the Devils back on the charity stripe.

The strategy paid off when Davis missed the front end of the one-and-one.

Following a JF timeout, Barrett Farrar inbounded the ball to Harrison with 8.1 seconds remaining.  Harrison’s flight through the Rustburg defense put the game into OT.

During that session, the Cav defense really stood out, limiting the Red Devils to one basket (by Matt Harris) and three total points.

Meanwhile, Jackson Connell nailed a 6-footer, fighting his way through Dustin Arrowood and Harris to do so.  That bucket made it 46-44.

But, with a half minute to play, Harris’s putback knotted the score at 46.

Harrison’s pace was more leisurely in overtime.  This time, he got the ball with 8.3 seconds left and waited until there was a comfortable 2.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Cav bench wanted to mob Harrison, but Rustburg had one last gasp.

It came, and went, in the form of Davis’s desperate heave from 50 feet away.

Game notes

-Everyone seemed to contribute in this win and the Cavs seemed to have their act together in it.

-Ted Price spent the majority of the game chasing down Rustburg’s Davis, easily one of the top players in the Seminole District.  While Davis picked up 20 points, he certainly had to work for every one of them.

-Price and Harrison led the Cavs with 12 points apiece.

-tenPas seems to be getting more aggressive with each passing game.  In this one, he easily gave as good as he got from the much bigger-bodied Rustburgians.

-Forest easily has the crispest passing game in the Seminole.  The team shows constant movement, looking for a crack in the opposing defenses.  The team easily averaged 40 seconds per possession against Rustburg.

-The win moved Forest to 3-1 in District play.  The Cavs are knotted at the top with Liberty and Brookville.

Coming up

The Cavs play the other Cavs at Lord Botetourt this Thursday.  On Saturday, they host E.C. Glass and on Monday, Jan. 12, they head to (drum roll, please) Liberty.