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Barons’ season comes to an end / February 27, 2013
The Bluestone Barons overcame an early deficit to put pressure on Dan River late in the quarterfinals of the Region B Division 2 tournament, but the Wildcats pulled out a 59-42 win Wednesday night in Ringgold to end the Barons’ season.

The Barons, the sixth seeded team in the Region B field, had their moments against third-seed Dan River, but overall the Wildcats had too much versatility for the scrappy Barons to handle. Dan River was able to survive a poor shooting effort, especially at the free throw line, to put away Bluestone.

To be sure, the Barons’ stingy defense had a lot to do with the Wildcats’ offensive struggles. But Bluestone experienced its own problems putting the ball in the hole, especially in the fourth quarter when the Barons had trimmed the Dan River lead to just nine points.

“To be in a game and be down by nine going into the fourth quarter, to have a chance to cut it to five before the period starts but miss a couple of layups here and a couple of free throws there, and the game changed,” Bluestone coach James Fowlkes told the Danville Register & Bee. “The whole tempo of the game changes. The scoreboard at the end doesn’t dictate how the game was played, and it’s a tough loss.”

Bluestone had to battle back after trailing by 12 points at halftime, 27-15. Both teams got off to slow starts, despite a raucous home crowd that showed up to cheer the Wildcats on.

The first quarter ended with Bluestone behind 14-7. Dan River outpointed the Barons 13-8 in the second quarter.

Bluestone mounted a rally in the third quarter, which the Barons won 15-12 to make the score 39-30 heading into the final quarter. The nine-point deficit was the smallest for Bluestone since the end of the first period.

Dan River was vulnerable in the late going, thanks in part to the Wildcats’ 45 percent shooting at the charity stripe, but eventually Dan River was able to achieve some separation as Bluestone was forced to continue fouling the Wildcats in the game’s closing moments. Dan River did just enough at the free throw line to prevail 59-42.

The loss spoiled another big effort by Bluestone junior Damien Winbush, who developed this season as a leader for the Barons. Winbush had 17 points in the losing cause, the only Baron to top double figures. Senior Marcus Tucker contributed six points, sophomore Darius Baskerville and junior Aaron Watson each scored five, and junior Ovon Bullock scored four. Devin Roberts, a junior, rounded out the offense for Bluestone with three points.

Dan River’s TyQuonne Adams was the game-high scorer with 20 points.

The loss gave Bluestone a 12-12 record for the year. The Barons earned their first regional postseason berth in years under Fowlkes, who assumed head coaching duties for the basketball team after the season started in November.

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