YORK – By the time Bruton got a full scouting report on Stuarts Draft, the Panthers had only about a day to prepare for the Cougars’ run-and-gun system most recently popularized by Division III Grinnell College in Iowa.
Stuarts Draft pressed nonstop Tuesday in the Group 2A East Region boys basketball matchup, unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers and substituted five players at a time with regularity, unloading its whole roster of 16.
But top-seeded Bruton (10-14) adjusted and controlled the second half en route to a 72-60 win, led by 18 points off the bench from Keandre Richards.
After starting the season 0-6, the Panthers are in the state quarterfinals, where they will meet top-seeded Robert E. Lee on Thursday.
“Honestly, to me, it’s a miracle,” said Bruton senior Greg Dockery. “Who would have thought an 0-6 starting team could potentially get to the state tournament and win a state championship? That doesn’t really happen a lot. I’m privileged that this group has stuck together and we’ve done what we can these last few games and just stayed together because we could have fell apart a long time ago.”
Dockery tallied 13 points Tuesday and Montay Hood contributed 15 of Bruton’s 35 bench points.
Point guard Donevan Adkins, who scored eight, was steady and the Panthers matched Stuarts Draft’s breakneck pace for much of the game, often scoring in transition. No one benefited more from the pace than Richards and Hood, who scored all their points around the basket.
Indeed, most of Bruton’s shots came from close range. The Panthers were 0-for-1 from 3-point range and kept the visitors to 10-for-39.
Maintaining a 39-36 halftime lead, Adkins converted a couple of quick layups to start the second half, including one off his own steal.
Then, Javonte Ashlock scored down low and before long, Bruton had the Cougars on their heels, leading by 10 entering the final period.
“The flu is going around,” Adkins said. “A lot of the guys are under the weather. But we came together. We run in practice. We were prepared for it.”
prepared for it.”
Coach Brenner Carter told Bruton before the game he was proud of the team’s resolve no matter the result.
“We’re still standing,” Carter said. “… I think the kids started believing in themselves. Sooner or later, they started realizing what (the coaches) are saying started to work.”
BRUTON 72, STUARTS DRAFT 60
Stuarts Draft: Peck 6, Campbell 3, McGann 5, Rader 3, White 12, Ruiz-Haybes 10, Gumann 12, Craig 1, Branch 3, Reed 5. Totals 23 4-7 60.
Bruton: Dockery 13, Ashlock 5, Carr 11, Adkins 8, Hood 15, Richards 18, Bower 2. Totals 30 12-23 72.
Stuarts Draft 20 16 9 15 – 60
Bruton 20 19 16 17 – 72
3-point goals: Stuarts Draft 10 (White 4, Reed, Rader, McGann, Peck, Campbell, Ruiz-Haynes ), Bruton 0.
Bruton girls knocked off by Stuarts Draft
YORK – The Bruton girls basketball team was eliminated Tuesday 43-23 by Stuarts Draft in the second round of Group 2A East Region play.
Stuarts Draft starter Deborah Black exited the game on a stretcher near the end of the first quarter with a knee injury that postponed the game for about 20 minutes. The Cougars took a little while to adjust to the ominous scene, leading 13-12, at halftime before dominating the second half.
Stuarts Draft kept Bruton without a bucket for about 6 minutes, 45 seconds in a third quarter in which the Cougars outscored the Panthers 16-4.
“I think what beat us is we weren’t that patient on offense in the second half,” said Shawn Preston, who co-coaches Bruton with Bobby Warner.
Mychaela Lucas led Bruton with six points and had a big game on the glass.
But the Panthers, who won the Conference 33 championship last week, just couldn’t get the shots to fall.
“We’re definitely proud of where we are and we definitely think we have a bright future,” Preston said. “We’re losing two seniors and we have a lot of great players coming back.”
STUARTS DRAFT 43, BRUTON 23
Stuarts Draft: Black 4, Rodgers 5, Brenneman 12, Ayres 12, Sauder 4, Bridge 1, Lowery 1. Totals 14 12-19. 43.
Bruton: Ferguson 3, My. Johnson 5, Lucas 6, Johnson 5, Calloway 2, Freeman 2. Totals 9 3-8 23.
STUARTS DRAFT 8 5 16 14 – 43
BRUTON 6 6 4 7 – 23
3-point goals: Stuarts Draft 3 (Rodgers 3), Bruton 2 (Ferguson, My. Johnson).
Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.