Jamestown’s first boys basketball state championship appearance ended Friday night at VCU’s Siegel Center with an 80-48 loss to Loudoun Valley in the Group 4A title game.
It was the first defeat for Jamestown (27-3) since a 77-56 defeat to 5A Granby Dec. 17 and the first loss to a 4A team all season. The other came in December against 5A Bethel, which will play for a state title Saturday in Richmond.
Five takes from Friday’s 4A championship:
Loudoun Valley (30-1) really could not have started the game much better than it did, as point guard Nick Ball knocked down a jumper nine seconds into the game. Jamestown got on the board with a pair of Diamante Brown free throws, but the Vikings hit their next two attempts – both 3-pointers – and the Eagles were soon in a hole too deep to climb out of.
Loudoun Valley led 24-8 at the end of the first quarter, hitting 9 of 11 shots from the field.
By halftime, the Vikings were up 17 points and had gone to the free throw line 12 times, 10 more than Jamestown. Loudoun Valley hit all but one of those, and finished 12 for 13 on the game.
And Brown, Jamestown’s most athletic presence on defense, picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat the rest of the half.
“I think they got to the free throw line early, so when you get to the free throw line early and see the ball go in the hole that definitely gives you some confidence,” Jamestown coach Donovan Bridgeforth said. “And they shot the ball well early. They just came out and played really hard.”
That Loudoun Valley shot 70 percent is impressive enough, but consider Duron Norris, Dominic Peterson and star junior Jordan Miller combined to shoot 20 for 22. Norris and 6-foot-6 Miller did all their damage inside while Peterson was 4 for 5 from outside.
Glimmers of hope
At the end of the second quarter and start of the third, Jamestown began to play a little more like the fluid team it had been on offense all season. Ryan Devine sank two 3s at the end of the first half and Ryan Jones started the second half with a couple of shots from the outside to narrow the Vikings’ lead to 13 points.
But after Evan Wang’s free throws cut the gap to 46-33, Loudoun Valley surged to a 9-0 run. The Vikings always had an answer.
“It seemed like they just didn’t miss a shot all game,” Jones said. “But (it was) partly them, and partly not controlling them, keeping them in front of us on defense.”
Play of the game
Really, there were not many standout plays with the exception of Brown’s first-quarter block that resulted in him jamming it on the other end. Loudoun Valley made a living on cuts to the hoop and close-range finishes.
Honorable mention goes to Jamestown’s Gang Green student section that showed up ready to be loud, but was deflated early. Late in the game, the light green-clad Eagles chanted at Loudoun Valley’s camouflage-sporting student supporters, “We-can’t-see-you.”