The setting at Jamestown High on Friday for the 4A East Region boys basketball championship game was similar to when the Eagles hosted Smithfield in the Conference 18 final a week ago.
For Jamestown the result was pleasantly familiar as well.
Shaking off a slow start with yet another stellar shooting effort, the Eagles (25-2) defeated the Packers 65-56 to win the school's first boys regional championship. It was the fourth time this season the Eagles have beaten the Packers (21-5).
Despite the result of Friday's regional, both teams qualified for the 4A state tournament. The Eagles will face William Fleming at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in the Salem Civic Center, before Smithfield takes on George Washington of Danville at 7:45 p.m.
"We were happy to get this because it's the first time," Eagles forward Ryan Devine said. "Now we want to keep it going and win states."
If the Eagles shoot like they did in the second and third quarters on Friday, that goal is certainly attainable. During a stretch that began late in the first quarter and ended early in the fourth, the Eagles made 20 of 24 field-goal attempts.
The score was tied at 31-31 early in the second half, when the Eagles made 10 consecutive field goals — although they did turn the ball over four times during that stretch. Point guard Ryan Jones began the run with a 3-pointer, ended it with a baseline jumper and when the smoke cleared the Eagles were ahead 51-39.
"The first two times we played them we were down one or up one at half," Eagles forward Michael Schmidt said. "Coach (Donavan) Bridgeforth said, 'Why not come out and beat them again in the second half?'"
Riding the momentum of two one-point victories in the regionals on long shots by Keon Tucker, Smithfield jumped out to a 16-7 lead. The Packers' Ryan Jones and Chris Pierce combined to score 11 of Smithfield's 16 points. Jones finished with 17 points, while Pierce contributed with 15.
"They did a great job against our zone," Bridgeforth said.
Jamestown's Diamonte Brown scored 13 points to continue his strong postseason, hitting a 3-pointer to ignite a 22-7 run as the Eagles took an eight-point lead late in the first half.
Marcus Custis hit two 3-pointers to close the half and Smithfield trailed 31-29 at the break. Pierce tied the game at 31-31 with a basket inside, before Jamestown's Ryan Jones (16 points) answered with a 3-pointer. The Eagles' Ryan Jones finished with a team-high 16 points.
"It was really about the plays Coach (Bridgeforth) was calling," Jamestown's Ryan Jones said.
JAMESTOWN 65, SMITHFIELD 56
SMITHFIELD (21-5): Custis 6, Moore 11, Ry. Jones 17, Pierce 15, Tucker 5, Jordan 2. Totals 24 3-7 56.
JAMESTOWN (25-2): M. Wang 8, Devine 9, Brown 13, Ry. Jones 16, E. Wang 5, Schmidt 9, Garrett 5. Totals 26 6-7 65.
3-point goals: Smithfield 5 (Custis 2, Moore, Jones, Tucker), Jamestown 7 (Jones 3, Devine, E. Wang, M. Wang, Garrett).
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963