It was a little closer at the end because of Harrisonburg’s fourth quarter surge and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that only cut the lead to one, but Albemarle’s boys basketball team picked up a solid 64-63 win over Region 5D foe Harrisonburg Monday.
“It feels to me more like we should’ve won by 10 or 15 points but we let them come back,” said Albemarle coach Greg Maynard. “A win is a win, we’ll take it. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re out there fighting and clawing.”
It was the Patriots’ season opener and they got a stat-sheet filling game from Josh Morse in the win, with a double double of 18 points and 10 boards as well as four assists and five blocks. Morse’s increased role this year comes with some increased confidence as well.
“Josh has really improved his overall game as far as finishing inside,” Maynard said. “He’s a lot stronger than he is last year and those were some big boys beating on him in there and he came up with some big baskets.”
He had help from Cam Johnson who scored 14 points and posted five steals. Johnson helped hold off the late Harrisonburg charge with eight points in the fourth and was productive despite not knocking down 3-pointers.
“He did a lot of good things for us well, but he didn’t shoot the three-ball well so he can even be a little more explosive than that,” Maynard said.
Harrisonburg cut into a 27-20 halftime Albemarle lead early in the fourth, but a solid spurt by the Patriots stretched the lead out to 42-26 by the end of the third. A Will Hornsby 3-pointer helped ignite that run.
Dasaun Taylor gave the Pats a steady hand at the point with seven points, five assists and three steals and Justin Murkey had another seven points. While Albemarle missed a handful of free throws in the fourth, they went 10-for-15 as a team to prevent Harrisonburg from making things really interesting.
Jaziel Mensah led Harrisonburg with 25 points, scoring 15 of those 25 in the fourth.
Albemarle (1-0) will travel to take on Culpeper Wednesday.