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The final 30 seconds of Wednesday's game between Warhill and Poquoson was a perfect representation of the season for the Lions.
Youth and inexperience yielded costly mistakes that ultimately sank Warhill's chances of winning down the stretch during a lamentable 53-52 home loss.
With Warhill leading Poquoson 52-50 with 31.1 seconds left in the game, a Warhill player did not leave the court following a substitution. With six players on the court, the Lions were called for a technical foul that resulted in two free throws and gave possession to Poquoson.
J.D. Costulis stepped to the line for Poquoson and made one of his two technical free throws to cut Warhill's lead to 52-51.
On Poquoson's ensuing possession, the Islanders attempted to kill the clock before sending Costulis driving along the baseline with the ball.
Costulis' shot missed everything, but wound up in the hands of Laroy Young, who banked the ball off the backboard while falling backwards to give the Poquoson a 53-52 lead with .8 seconds left in the game.
Out of a timeout, Warhill managed to get Jimmel Davis, who finished with a team-high 17 points, an open look from the 3-point line. Davis' shot clanked off the left iron and the celebrations began for Poquoson after a wild finish.
Things were not as jovial for Warhill Coach Geoff McCulloch, whose team has now lost four consecutive games.
"We're just inexperienced and we didn't know what we were doing," he said. "We played some good defense [on Poquoson's final possession], but they threw one up and it went in."
The one-point margin of victory for Poquoson does not quite tell the whole story of the game, which for the first three quarters was mostly controlled by Warhill.
Warhill came out aggressively on the defensive end, implementing a full-court press throughout the game and trapping whenever possible. The constant pressure gave Poquoson ball handlers headaches as the Lions made the Islanders work just to cross the half-court line.
The full-court press backfired on occasion for the Lions as Costulis, who scored 17 points, would leak out on the weak side of the press, receive a half-court pass and drive for an uncontested layup.
When the Lions were able to settle into their offensive set, things were running relatively smoothly outside of roughly nine traveling violations in the first half.
Warhill connected on a trio of 3-pointers – two from Braden Troy-Wilson and one from Antonio Stovall – in the second quarter, while Davis added six points to give the Lions a 26-23 halftime lead.
The Lions were able to shut down Costulis in the third quarter, holding the explosive Poquoson slasher scoreless. With Costulis out of the picture, the Islanders got seven points in the quarter from Tucker Schuhart.
Poquoson's dip in scoring allowed Warhill to slightly extend its lead thanks to a well-rounded scoring effort in the third quarter: The Lions got points from five different players in the quarter.
Prior to Warhill's collapse in the final 30 seconds of the game, the Lions slowly saw their lead start to dwindle as the Islanders found open looks in the lane and capitalized on poor Warhill rotations on defense.
The gradual loss of their lead resulted in the Lions being awestruck as Poquoson completed its last-minute rally to pull out the victory.
For McCulloch, the final 30 seconds of play represented a problem which has plagued the Lions all season.
"We don't know how to close out a game yet," he said. "That showed pretty badly tonight. I think we play hard every time, but we do things that shoot ourselves. We've got to find a way to stop doing that to ourselves."
Warhill (1-5) will look to snap a four-game losing skid when the Lions host Grafton on Friday.
Poquoson: 8 15 11 19 — 53
Warhill: 9 17 15 11 — 52
Poquoson: Costulis 17, Young 13, Schuhart 13, McDevitt 8, Callaway 2
Warhill: Davis 17, Belle 13, Stovall 6, Troy-Wilson 9, Anzola 5, Lewis 2
3-point goals: Poquoson 2 (Costulis, Schuhart), Warhill 6 (Davis, Stovall 2, Troy-Wilson 3)
Smithfield Outpaces Tabb in Blowout
After a valiant first-quarter effort against Smithfield, Tabb could not keep pace as the Packers cruised to a 65-47 victory at home Wednesday evening.
Tabb put up its best fight of the evening in the first quarter, when the Tigers led by as much as three points. However, a late 3-pointers by Isaiah Moore of Smithfield tied the game at 12-12 just before the end of the first quarter.
From that point, the game belonged to Smithfield. The Packers started the second quarter on a 9-0 run that helped them build a 34-19 halftime advantage over the Tigers.
The third quarter was more of the same as Smithfield opened the quarter on a 12-0 run that put the Packers up 48-22 over the Tigers.
With the Packers holding a 55-29 lead after three quarters, Smithfield was able to cruise in the fourth quarter to the win.
Jalin Jordan led Tabb with 12 points, while Joby Jansen added 10 points for the Tigers.
Tabb (2-4) will try to get back on the right track during a road game against York Friday evening.
Tabb: 12 7 10 18 — 47
Smithfield: 12 22 21 10 — 65
Tabb: Jansen 10, Eleby 3, Pearson 6, Jordan 12, Hunter 7, Smith 5, Brown 4
Smithfield: Bryant 1, Elliot 2, Jones 13, Pierce 4, Stafford 10, Shepherd 12, Moore 8, Tucker 15
3-point goals: Tabb 3 (Eleby, Pearson, Hunter), Smithfield 9 (Jones 2, Moore 2, Tucker 5)
Bruton Uses Strong Fourth Quarter to Down York
After playing a two-to-three possession game against York for the first 28 minutes, Bruton used key turnovers in the last four minutes to pull away late for a 62-45 home victory on Wednesday.
Bruton opened the first half playing solid, but not outstanding basketball that allowed York to hang within striking distance of the Panthers.
The Panthers slowly built their lead in the first half thanks to solid guard play, taking a 33-25 lead by halftime.
York showed some fight in the third quarter as the Falcons traded blows with the Panthers and pulled within four points by the end of the third quarter.
The Falcons hung within four points of Bruton until Tre Wallace splashed a big 3-pointer for the Panthers. The 3-pointer was followed up with multiple steals that led to buckets in transition for Bruton.
Over the final four minutes of play, what was a closely contested game for Bruton turned into a comfortable victory.
Bruton (4-2) will host Jamestown on Friday looking to extend a four-game win streak, while York (0-5) is still seeking its first win of the season. The Falcons will have a chance to get in the win column with a home game against Tabb on Friday.
York: 14 11 14 6 — 45
Bruton: 18 15 10 19 — 62
York: Patrick 6, Kimrey 14, Martinez 3, Nanartowich 9, Christian 13
Bruton: Taylor 11, Carr 6, Calloway 22, Teach 2, Danek 5, Wallace 14, Dockery 2
3-point goals: York 4 (Kimrey 2, Martinez, Nanartowich), Bruton 2 (Calloway, Wallace)
Jamestown Offense Explodes Against New Kent
Jamestown put together its best offensive performance of the season at home Wednesday against New Kent, as the Eagles dropped 102 points against the Trojans.
Every Jamestown player recorded points as the Eagles cruised to a decisive 102-65 victory.
The game was out of reach for New Kent by the end of the first quarter as Jamestown's starters opened up a 26-point lead after eight minutes of play behind strong performances by Mason Wang and Michael Schmidt, who finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
New Kent showed some grit in the second quarter, outscoring Jamestown 21-20 by still trailing 54-29 at halftime.
The Eagles were able to ease through the second half, pulling all of their starters in the fourth quarter but still outscoring the Trojans.
Jamestown (5-1) will look to extend its three-game win streak when the Eagles visit Bruton on Friday.
New Kent: 8 21 15 21 — 65
Jamestown: 34 20 21 27 — 102
New Kent: Lugg 10, Curle 1, Claytor 29, Brown 4, Cox 5, McCaughan 2, Woodley 2, Reeders 8, Amadeo 3
Jamestown: E. Wang 7, M. Wang 16, D. Brown 11, Swain 8, Schmidt 15, Green 4, Lipscomb 2, Devine 13, Fields 8, Klyman 4, Jones 4, Lansford 6, Jones 4
3-point goals: New Kent 10 (Lugg 2, Claytor 7, Amadeo), Jamestown 6 (E. Wang, M. Wang 2, Schmidt, Lansford 2)
King Lifts Grafton Over Lafayette
Adam King sank eight 3-pointers to help lead Grafton to a 68-47 win at home over Lafayette on Wednesday.
The Clippers dominated from the outset of the game, outpacing Lafayette 18-1 by the end of the first quarter behind King's hot shooting.
Grafton's lead continued to grow in the second quarter as the Clippers' offense continued to roll. By halftime, Grafton held a 32-8 advantage over the Rams.
Lafayette's offense picked up in the second half, but the Rams were too far behind to catch up to Grafton before the final buzzer sounded.
Grafton (7-0) will try to remain unbeaten as the Clippers travel to play Warhill on Friday, while Lafayette (3-4) will look to end a two-game losing streak when the Rams travel to play Poquoson that same night.
Individual statistics were not reported for this game.
Grafton 68, Lafayette 47