Dan River boys escape tenacious Nelson squad

By Allen Kha / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor

LOVINGSTON — Nelson County basketball turned in one of its best performances this season Friday evening, playing at a level of quickness and with a drive that the Governors’ had erraticly shown through the season so far.

Unfortunately, Nelson’s best performance came against a bigger team that shares the Governors’ run-and-gun mentality. Dan River — No. 1 in The Associated Press Group A poll — used its superior size and athleticism to escape Lovingston with an 82-76 victory in Dogwood District play.

The Wildcats employed early full-court defensive pressure to jump out to an early 7-0 lead four minutes into the first quarter. Nelson eventually acclimated, roaring back with a 14-5 run to end the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.

Led by sophomore point guard Adam Pickett’s slashing ability, the Governors’ continued their spurt into the second quarter. Nelson matched the Wildcats basket-for-basket for most of the quarter, playing to a 31-31 tie with 1:30 left in the half.

Virginia Tech football commit Trey Edmunds closed the first half on a high note for his Dan River team, nonetheless. Edmunds scored six points and recorded an assist in the half’s final 1:30 to help his team enter halftime with a 39-31 lead.

The Wildcats eventually pulled away in the middle of a frenetic third quarter with an 11-3 run, and extended its lead all the way to 73-59 with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Nelson used intentional fouls to claw back into the game in the final two minutes, but could pull no closer than the game’s 82-76 final scoreline.

Despite the result, Governors coach Brandon Garrett was encouraged by the performance of his young team.

“Like it’s been all season, we played in spurts against [Dan River]. We’re that type of team… We played pretty well, overall, but still committed too many mistakes at times to win,” Garrett said.

“But we showed we can play with the top team in the state, and that means a lot. They had a size advantage and athleticism, and they play the same fast game that we play. We just have to keep working on our ball-handling and Motion offense so we get better, and learn to compete for four quarters.”

Edmunds, who scored a career-high 32 points, and added 10 rebounds and four steals in the Wildcats’ win, was pleased that his team continued its undefeated season.

“It’s all about having fun and playing with high-intensity. We’re athletic and like to run, wear teams out. It’s our strength, and everyone contributed tonight,” Edmunds laughed (with a noticeable cut in his mouth that he sustained in a fall in the fourth quarter).

“That’s a good team [Nelson] we played. We just played good defense to draw a lot of points from turnovers, and that helped us get the victory when they kept the game close.”

Adam Pickett led Nelson with 23 points.