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Barons fall to Cumberland in double OT, suffer setback on road at Buckingham

South Boston News
Mike Harris scored 23 points in the loss to Cumberland. (Mike Moseley photo) / December 18, 2019

The Bluestone Barons varsity basketball team played a solid game on Wednesday of last week but were unable to overcome visiting Cumberland and came away with a 69-66 loss in double overtime.

The Dukes jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Bluestone’s Nic Abernathy sank a deep trey. Bluestone would tie the game at 6-6 off a Mike Harris deuce and one.

The teams held the score close for much of the opening quarter. Cumberland got some separation late in the frame to take a 19-13 lead into the second quarter. Abernathy paced Bluestone in the first with eight points.

At the top of the second Harris knocked down five straight points to pull the Barons within one point. Bluestone never tied the score or pulled ahead in the frame yet they went to halftime only down by three points, 28-25. Harris had eight points in the second period.

The teams began the third period exchanging baskets before the Dukes went on a 12-0 run to increase their lead to 45-31. Abernathy ended the run by going to the foul line and hitting one-of-two.

Cumberland responded by scoring four points before Abernathy went hyper-mode on defense. The 6’0” junior guard stole the ball five times in a row and used each of those steals to produce an 11-0 run for Bluestone to close out the third. Abernathy posted 11 points in the 18-point quarter.

Bluestone knotted the game at 48-48 with 6:24 remaining in regulation. Cumberland moved ahead at 50-48 before Bluestone regained the lead at 52-50.

Cumberland called a timeout when Bluestone pulled ahead at 54-52 with 37.8 seconds left in the fourth. The Dukes tied the game at 54-54 with 28.3 seconds remaining.

Neither team was able to score as time ran out and the game went into its first overtime. Both squads hit a four-points each in the first overtime, with Harris posting Bluestone’s points.

In the second overtime, the teams traded a free throw apiece at the line. Cumberland eventually moved out to a 66-60 lead and went on to claim the 69-66 win. Harris paced the Barons in overtime with eight points.

For the game, Nic Abernathy scorched the nets for 23 points and he was joined by senior forward-center Mike Harris, who also scored 23.

Bluestone Scores: X. Sturdifen 2, V. Small 6, N. Abernathy 23, D. Shearin 6, T. Hatcher 4, M. Harris 23, K. Jones 2.

Buckingham 44, Bluestone 42

(Tuesday, Dec. 10)

When you shoot 11-of-23 from the line and have to make up a 14-point deficit between the third and fourth quarters on the road, there stands a good chance you may lose the game and that’s what happened to the Bluestone Barons at Buckingham in a 44-42 loss.

Bluestone posted two points in the first period and 11 points in the second and third before closing the game with an 18-point fourth. In contrast Buckingham scored three points in the first, 20 in the second, eight in the third and 13 points in the final period.

Mike Harris had 13 points in the game. Larry Bullock and Da’Trione Shearin posted 10 points each.

Bluestone Scores: L. Bullock 10, V. Small 3, N. Abernathy 3, D. Shearin 10, C. Martin 2, T. hatcher 1, M. Harris 13.

Schedule of games this week

With the Cumberland and Buckingham losses, Bluestone dropped to 1-2 in the James River District.

Buckingham (3-0, 2-0) began the week in first place in the district. Cumberland at 2-1 follows in second place.

Things won’t get any easier for Bluestone as they were scheduled to travel to Charlotte Courthouse to play Randolph-Henry last night (Tuesday). The Statesmen are 2-1 and currently hold third place in the JRD. The Barons finish out the week as they host the Park View Dragons (4-3, 4-1) Friday night in the basketball version of the King of the County game.

Looking back on the week’s pair of losses, Bluestone head coach George Lancaster observed that his young Barons squad played some decent ball against two of the better teams in the James River District, but they need to mature in certain areas of the game. He feels that with Abernathy returning to the team, it will allow other players to develop their games more.

Abernathy was sidelined earlier in the season when he suffered an ankle injury. He returned to play in limited action in the Buckingham loss and saw increased minutes in the Cumberland matchup.

“Nic Abernathy [is] coming on,” Lancaster said. “He played a bit yesterday. When you really look at it we played a good team that guards and shoots the ball real well,” referring to the Cumberland game.

“Defense again carried us into double overtime. We’re not dejected, we’re not down and it’s early on. We’re 1-2, 3-0 with a little more experience.”

Abernathy’s presence was definitely felt on the court as his outside shooting and lane penetration freed up Harris and senior forward Da’Trione Shearin to get better shot selections. Harris’ 23 points was a season high for him thus far.

Abernathy was still cautiously moving on the ankle and Lancaster said they had asked him not to try and do too much right now. “We don’t use him when we press right now,” Lancaster explained.

In both the Cumberland and Buckingham losses, Bluestone had opportunities to win the games. With Buckingham it was a trey and two-point attempt that didn’t go down and with Cumberland two shooting opportunities were afford the Barons to take the win, in regulation. “Last night we had a shot to tie the game. Tonight we had a shot or two in the game so. We’re right there,” Lancaster reflected.

The coach noted foul shooting has improved somewhat for the Barons over the two games. Against Cumberland the Barons were 14-of-24. In the matchup with Buckingham, Bluestone shot 11-of-23 from the line — not bad, some may say, but still below 50 percent.

Lancaster sees Bluestone improving and being in the mix come postseason time.

“We are athletic, we’ve got a scorer from the outside [and] we’ve got an inside game,” Lancaster said. “We’ve got three excellent defenders. We’ve gotten down and come back and we can do a variety of things defensively and that really helps us.”

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