By Ben Sheridan / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
Rivalry games obviously always mean a little more. When your rival is also the squad that’s fighting you for the top spot in the district, it things up another notch.
Buckingham’s boys basketball team went into a tough environment on the road against Goochland in an intense rivalry Thursday night. But the Knights refused to back down, using a huge third quarter surge where they surrendered just two points to beat Goochland 65-48 and avenge a narrow loss to the Bulldogs in January.
“(This win) means everything — Goochland is a top district team and we came in here, everybody was locked in and we were able to get the win,” said Buckingham’s Amari Toney.
When the game started, it appeared that the large crowd was in for a good one, as the teams played a pretty back and forth game during the first two quarters. Both teams were locked-in from a shooting perspective as they found ways to score from all levels, including two deep threes from Buckingham’s Amari Toney, who put up a huge 20-point performance in the game. Goochland took the first quarter however, on the strength of 10 points from J. B. Bell, who had 14 on the night.
The second quarter showed off the physicality that was present all night, with both teams fighting to gain the upper hand. While both teams were playing solid defense, it was the perimeter game of Goochland that made the difference in that stretch, with two threes coming from Quincy Snead. Snead finished with 24 points and five rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. At halftime, Goochland held a 26-24 advantage.
All that changed in the third quarter.
“Defensively, we talked about things at halftime, made a few adjustments and we’re a defensive-minded team,” said Buckingham coach Taylor Boyers. “We play defense and that’s key for us, and our defense leads to our offense.”
The Knights gave up only two points in the third quarter with an incredible defensive effort. They also made nearly every effort play, diving on the floor, grabbing any loose basketball. That turned into a ton of fast break points, with many Knights getting in on the action. Tae Toney had four points in the quarter on his way to a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. All of this led to Buckingham taking a 45-28 lead to the fourth.
“The difference between tonight and how we typically play is two points in the third quarter,” said Goochland coach Preston Gordon. “We did not shoot the ball very well obviously, we took some quick shots, give credit to Buckingham’s solid defense. The other part is that they shot lights out in the second half, and that’s credit to them.”
After the huge third quarter, the game never got any closer, as the Knights maintained their intensity while the Bulldogs offense finally came back around. Once the final horn sounded, the Knights walked away with a huge James River District win.
“We left it all on the court — we know Goochland is such a good team, we had to play one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Boyers said.
Xavier Copeland chipped in eight points and eight boards for the Knights while Damorrious Holman had 10 points.
The win puts Buckingham at 12-2 in district play (17-3 overall), and they’ll host Prince Edward on Monday. Goochland (14-4) was scheduled to play Central Lunenburg Friday, but that game has been postponed due to flooding in the area. They’ll take on Bluestone Tuesday.
Goochland girls 45, Buckingham 42
In the girls installment of the Goochland/Buckingham rivalry, the Bulldogs’ girls prevailed, beating Buckingham 45-42.
The Bulldogs (15-5, 15-0 James River) leaned on a nine-point lead going into the fourth to hold off a late charge by the Knights. Gabby Ragone led the Bulldogs with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds while Victoria Lopez had a big night on the boards with 11 points and 11 rebounds for a double double.
Buckingham’s Mylasia Thompson finished with 13 points, Lauren Randolph had 10 points and 10 boards for a double double and Skylar Davis pulled down 16 rebound.