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Bluestone ends regular season with 4-1 run

South Boston News
Chris Gregory drains the jumper vs. Cumberland on Monday night. (Mike Moseley photo) / February 07, 2018

The Bluestone Barons varsity basketball team closed out regular season play in the James River District with a 69-52 win over Cumberland in Skipwith Monday night.

The win was the latest in a 4-1 run that the Barons put together to end the season. The strong finish lifted the Barons from fourth place to third in the JRD with a record of 11-5. Cumberland (10-5 JRD) entered Monday night’s game in third place.

On Monday, Jan. 30, the Barons scored a major JRD upset over No. 1 Goochland, defeating the Bulldogs 61-49 in Skipwith. Back-to-back wins over Buckingham and a 71-54 rematch loss to Goochland on Saturday comprised the 4-1 run.

As of Tuesday morning, Goochland remained in the top spot with a 12-2 district mark, while Randolph-Henry held steady in second with a record of 11-3. With the exception of Bluestone, the three remaining top four teams will finish up their regular seasons on Wednesday.

But even with this, it’s still unlikely that Bluestone will drop out of the top rung. These positions are so important because the JRD tournament, which begins this weekend in Farmville at Prince Edward High School, will pit No. 1 against No. 4 and the second place team against No. 3.

Baron Head Coach Benjamin Sizemore said if he had to call what will happen going into the tourney, he’d say Bluestone will probably get the three spot.

“If I were to predict it, I’d say us third, Randolph-Henry second, Goochland first and Cumberland fourth,” Sizemore said. “I really don’t see us falling out of the top-four.”

Sizemore noted that the team really stepped up in the last weeks of JRD action and he sees that continuing in the JRD tourney, as well as the regions.

“We are really starting to jell as a team,” Sizemore continued. “Michael Harris is starting to play better, Chris Gregory is well Chris, and Patrick Alexander is playing a lot better defense.

“And our bench play has started to get better with Walter Evans, Cam Tucker and other players just all contributing to make us a complete team.”

Kwhali Hester and Devin Pettus are also hitting their stride right now at the one- and two-guard positions.

Sizemore said regardless of how good they are on offense, it is the defensive play of the Barons in recent weeks that has elevated the team.

The coach made the point that people look at Alexander and see him as an outside shooting threat. And it is true that Alexander has some serious range on his shots.

But Sizemore said he knows they will have a good game when he sees Alexander starting the game playing, aggressive defense.

“It’s a bit of a misnomer regarding Patrick,” Sizemore stated. “People see his offense but it’s really his defense that makes his game and the team’s game better.

“When I see him go out and play hard defense at the beginning of the game, I know it’s going to be a good night for us.”

Bluestone 69, 
Cumberland 52

Monday night’s game was Senior Night for the Barons and they celebrated in fine fashion, winning over the Cumberland Dukes 69-52.

Bluestone had balanced scoring on the night with four players hitting double figures. Chris Gregory posted 16 points to lead Bluestone. Michael Harris knocked down 14 points in the lane and teammates Patrick Alexander and Devin Pettus added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Cumberland actually opened the game at the foul line before any time ran off of the clock, due to a dunk in pregame by Bluestone. The Dukes converted one-of-two for the 1-0 lead.

Walter Evans, Jr. posted Bluestone’s first points at the foul line for the 2-1 Baron lead. Cumberland led 7-4 with 5:45 remaining in the first period.

Bluestone then went on an 11-0 run. Cumberland collected a deuce and Gregory drilled a trey from the timeline to give Bluestone the 18-9 lead at the end of the first. Alexander led Bluestone in the frame with six points.

Cumberland’s Chris Jackson, at center, had a good second period for his team. His efforts led to the Dukes outpacing Bluestone 17-13. Bluestone went to halftime up by five points at 31-26.

The Barons came out in the second half and played good basketball on both sides of the ball. Bluestone posted 22 points in the third and finished out the game with an 18-point fourth.

Gregory with seven points and Devin Pettus with six of his 11-point total helped boost Bluestone’s third period. In the fourth, Harris had six points; Gregory and Pettus had four each.

Cumberland ended the game with 12- and 14-point third and fourth quarters. Gregory led all scorers in the game.

Bluestone – C. Taylor 2, K. Hester 4, D. Pettus 11, J. Hill 3, C. Gregory 16, P. Alexander 13, M. Harris 14, X. Johnson 2, W. Evans 4.

Goochland 71, 
Bluestone 54

Bluestone had just scored a major upset victory over Goochland five days prior to this game but in this effort it would be Goochland gaining the 71-54 win.

The teams played each other fairly evenly to start the game with Goochland leading 15-14 at the end of the first period. Hester had two treys in the opening frame and would go on to knock down four-of-six on the night. Alexander added a trey and a deuce.

The second quarter was when Bluestone went cold at the rim. Goochland outscored the Barons 24-7 in the second to lead 39-21 at the half.

The Barons had a decent third quarter, winning the period 17-11. Gregory had seven and Hester connected on two more three-pointers.

Bluestone connected on 16 points in the fourth to end the game. Gregory with 19 points and Hester with 12 were the only Barons in double figures.

Bluestone – K. Hester 12, D. Pettus 2, J. Hill 3, C. Gregory 19, M. Harris 7, X. Johnson 7, T. Small 2.

Bluestone 60, 
Buckingham 56

Chris Gregory and Patrick Alexander scored 18 and 21 points, in that order, to lead Bluestone to a four-point win over the Buckingham Knights on Friday.

Bluestone scored 16 points in the first period and 13 points in the second, yet still went to halftime down one at 30-29.

The teams played each other tightly in the third, with Bluestone posting a 13-12 third. The fourth period was won by Bluestone 18-14 and was enough to get the 60-56 victory.

Bluestone – K. Hester 3, D. Pettus 5, C. Tucker 2, C. Hillard 1, J. Hill 2, C. Gregory 18, P. Alexander 21, M. Harris 6, W. Evans 2.

Bluestone 68, 
Buckingham 60

This was a home game for Bluestone and even though the win was another close one at 68-60, the Barons did a good job at protecting their home court.

Alexander and Gregory had 20 and 15 points, respectively to lead the Baron charge. Pettus added nine points and Hester, seven.

The Barons posted a 19-point first period and followed that up with 17 points in the second period.

Bluestone kept the heat on in the third, scoring 15 points. The Barons added 17 in the fourth to take an eight-point victory.

Bluestone 61, Goochland 49

This win was probably one of the best-played games by Bluestone this season as the Barons shocked Goochland with the 61-49 upset win.

Bluestone had a 16-point first quarter and posted 13 in the second to lead 29-21 at the half. Alexander had 13 points in the first half; Gregory scored 12 points before the break.

Bluestone outpaced Goochland 32-28 in the second half of play. Alexander ended the night with 22 points to lead the Barons. Gregory had 21 points in the win.

Bluestone – K. Hester 6, D. Pettus 2, C. Gregory 21, P. Alexander 22, M. Harris 6, X. Johnson 2, T. Small 2.

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