By Marty O'Brien, firstname.lastname@example.org
11:38 PM EST, February 27, 2014
YORK — Bruton bookended great starts with great finishes to both halves Thursday and defeated visiting Strasburg 72-43 in the Group 2A East Region boys basketball quarterfinals. The reward is an opportunity to play for another state tournament berth.
The Panthers (23-1) will play Prince Edward — which beat Luray 65-36 in the quarterfinals — in the semifinals 6 p.m. Saturday at Hanover High. The winner advances to the 2A state tournament, regardless of how it fares in the regional final Tuesday. Bruton was a Group AA Division 3 state semifinalist a year ago.
"It feels good to be back where we want to be," said Bruton senior Marcus Carter, who scored 13 points. "We want to make it back to states, and we know we'll have to grind out another win to do that.
"It was a little emotional, but real nice, for the seniors to win our final home game in this gym."
The result was never in doubt. Lonnie Swinton (18 points) and Kapri Doucet were the early stars, combining for all of the points as the Panthers opened with a 15-2 run in the first four-plus minutes.
Swinton had two 3s in the early run, and assisted Doucet nicely on a basket. Between the two of them, they were 7-of-7 at the free-throw line in the opening run as the Panthers made 16 of 17 at the line in the first half and led 32-17 at intermission.
The Panthers started well again in the second half, stretching their lead to 48-22 in the third quarter, with Swinton and Doucet (12 points) again playing starring roles. The lead was never fewer than 19 points thereafter.
Strasburg (18-10) could never really threaten because Bruton's trapping, harassing defense forced 31 turnovers. The Panthers finished the game with a 13-2 run that included an obligatory Carter dunk that had the nearly packed gym on its feet.
Page County girls 38, Bruton 30
The Bruton girls' run through the postseason ended amid poor fourth-quarter shooting and ball-handling as it lost to Page County in the 2A East Region tournament quarterfinals.
The game was tied at 25 after three quarters, before Laney Corbin, Page's 6-foot center, scored seven points in the fourth quarter to lead her team to victory.
Bruton (11-13) led for the final time at 27-26 on Kayla Jones' steal and basket with 4:43 to play in the game. Lucas, who scored 13 points, followed with two free throws to give Page (11-12) a one-point lead, which she stretched to 30-27 by assisting Tiffany Kibler on a fast-break basket.
Those baskets came during a string of four consecutive Bruton turnovers. Alexis Calloway (14 points) pulled Bruton back to within 31-30 on a three-point play with 1:56 left.
From there, Bruton missed its final five shots and both free throws. Page pulled away with five free throws and a basket to earn a spot in the regional semifinals Saturday at Hanover.
Bruton rarely found its offensive rhythm, falling behind 16-9 at half on 2-of-18 field-goal shooting and 10 turnovers. The third quarter was Bruton's best as it increased the tempo to rally and tie the game at 25 behind four points each from Calloway and Jones.
BRUTON BOYS 72, STRASBURG 43
STRASBURG (18-10): Doman 3, Howard 9, R. Smoot 9, Butler 3, Kloosterman 17, Brill 2. Totals 12 14-16 43.
BRUTON (23-1): Carter 13, Rice 6, Swinton 18, Carr 9, Edwards 6, Doucet 12, Kissoon 3, Legaspi 1, Taylor 2, Sangalang 2. Totals 20 26-31 72.
Strasburg: 8, 9, 11, 15 – 43
Bruton: 17, 15, 18, 22 – 72
3-point goals: Strasburg 5 (Howard 3, Doman, Butler), Bruton 6 (Swinton 3, Edwards 2, Kisson).
PAGE COUNTY GIRLS 38, BRUTON 30
PAGE COUNTY (11-12): H. Gray 7, M. Gray 7, Andrews 4, Comer 3, Corbin 13, Kibler 4. Totals 12 13-26 38.
BRUTON (11-13): Samuel 5, Hawkins 3, Calloway 14, Sluss 2, Jones 6. Totals 10 9-16 30.
Page County: 3, 13, 9, 13 – 38
Bruton: 7, 2, 16, 5 – 30
3-point goals: Page County 1 (M. Gray), Bruton 1 (Calloway).
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.
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