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Dragons close out regular season with two wins, one defeat / February 14, 2018
Leading up to postseason play this week, the Park View varsity boys basketball team had a tumultuous run to close out the regular season. Here’s a recap:

Tuesday, Feb. 6

Greensville 60, Park View 52

There was a strange feeling in the air as the Greensville Eagles (15-5 coming into the contest) visited the Tri Rivers District-leading Dragons on Tuesday night. There was an obvious reason for the unease: the game was played in a near-empty gym after school officials closed the game to the general public due to non-specific threats that had surfaced the day before.

According to Park View Principal Wesley Swain, the threats did not surface on social media, although she wasn’t in a position to further elaborate. On Monday, a letter was sent home with Park View students stating that there would be additional security at the game and all attendees would be subjected to metal detectors. However, Greensville officials insisted Tuesday they would not play the game unless they could be assured that the gymnasium would remain, for all intents and purposes, empty during both the girls and boys games.

PVHS administrators felt they had no choice but to go along with this request, but in doing so the school forfeited all gate proceeds, concession sales and other sources of income. In addition, members of the public were understandably dismayed and confused amid the swirl of unsubstantiated rumors, with many fans taking to social media to express their displeasure with the situation.

Also because of the security concerns, the JV boys game Tuesday night was cancelled.

The game itself matched two of the top teams in the district. And despite Park View’s dominance for much of the season, Greensville was able to steal a much-needed win leading up to the district playoffs.

The Eagles jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first quarter and the PV defense continued to struggle in the second quarter as Greensville was able to make the back door cut work time and time again. However, PV opened the scoring in the second quarter as Hunter Sykes dropped a trey on the Eagles at the 7:20 mark. After an exchange of points, Demetrious Bugg came up strong for PV with an offensive rebound tip-in at 5:15. Only 17 seconds later, J. Mays drove the lane for Greensville and scored two points, drawing a foul and completing the 3-point play to extend the Eagles’ lead back to four points.

The back-and-forth continued, with Park View drawing as close as three points, but Greensville was able to scrounge for points before the half and took a five-point lead at halftime, 32-27.

There was a bit of a lull in the action in the third quarter as both defenses kept the scoring to a minimum. Park View got four points from D. Bugg as he continued to use his height and athleticism to his advantage under the basket. Charlzae Holmes and Sykes each added two points to round out the Dragons’ eight-point total in the third. However, the Eagles got 10 points in the frame to extend their lead. Greensville led 42-35 going into the final quarter.

Without the home crowd, cheerleaders and energy in the building to propel them as the clock ticked down, the Dragons they were unable to mount a comeback in the fourth. Greensville outscored PV by a point to take the victory, 60-52.

Afterwards PV head coach Danny Watkins stated of the outcome, “I don’t make excuses, we just didn’t get it done tonight. We didn’t play hard, we didn’t play team basketball, we didn’t play Park View basketball.” When asked if he thought an empty gym had any effect on the outcome, Watkins said, “Oh absolutely! These kids feed off of this home crowd and they didn’t have that tonight. But you have to be able to put that aside and still do your job and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Holmes finished the night as the Dragons’ leading scorer with 15 points, followed by Bugg with 13 and Sykes with nine.

PV: J. Seward 4, M Holmes 3, C. Holmes 15, N. Atwater 3, L House 5,D. Bugg 13, H. Sykes 9

GCHS: J. Fields 1, T. Odom 8, J. James 2, Z. Fileds 16, D. Anderson 17, A. Walton 2, D. Woodley 8, J. Young 2, J. Mays 4

Wednesday, Feb. 7

Park View 51, Surry 49

After a disappointing loss under trying circumstances to the visiting Eagles of Greensville County High School just 24 hours earlier, the Dragons took on the Eagles of Surry County High School on Wednesday night in a game that would decide the regular season Tri-Rivers District title.

Surry head coach James Pope brought his team to town looking to recover from a disappointing defeat of their own at Sussex Central the night before. Hoping to send the Dragons into postseason play with a loss, Sussex very nearly accomplished that goal before losing in the closing seconds, 51-49.

The Surry squad, considerably smaller than their Park View counterparts, was very quick and used speed to their advantage by beating the PV players to the ball time and time again. Eight points was all the Dragons could muster against a frantic Eagle defense in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the Eagles got 17 points in the frame as Brandon Drew nailed two treys on the way to leading all scorers with 10 points for the period.

Down 17-8, the scoreboard only got worse for the Dragons. Monte Pope hit a trey out of the gate for Sussex, followed up by two free throws at the 4:15 mark. Dragon senior leader Charlzae Holmes scored his first points of the game at 5:10 with a two pointer, and Demetrious Bugg showed his rebounding prowess with a strong put-back for two at the 4:44 mark.

On the very next possession C. Holmes stole the ball from the Eagle point guard and was fouled as he made a lay-up. He went on to sink the free throw to complete the three-point play. But Surry went on a 7-2 run to end the half and went to the locker room leading 31-19.

PV coach Danny Watkins stated after the game, “I told them [the players at halftime] I don’t care about the score. I want to see you come out, stay together and play hard and play Park View team basketball, no matter how the score ends up. I’ll be happy if you just do that.”

The Dragons did just that in the second half. They attacked with a pressing defense from the first play, contesting every shot, every pass, every inbound play. The strategy paid off as Sussex began to wilt. The Eagles held up fairly well in the third, ending the period with a 39-29 lead, but there was an air, an energy, about the Dragons that wasn’t there in the first half and gave rise in the second half to the feeling that something special was about to happen.

And something special did happen in the fourth. Even though Surry drew first blood in the quarter with a quick basket, this was the last field goal the Eagles would get in the period. The Park View press would prove to be too much for the Eagles, although Sussex did get to the free throw line often, sinking seven of 10 tries.

On the other hand, the PV offense got going. Points piled up — on assists, easy layups, put-backs on the glass, baskets off of steals — and before long Surry was calling timeout to talk things over and hopefully slow the Dragon momentum.

Yet the PV press was more than the Eagles could handle. The Dragons whittled away at the Sussex lead until the game was nearly even. A forced five-second violation by Sussex gave PV the ball with 12.7 seconds left to play, when Coach Watkins called a timeout to script the final play of regulation.

Taking the inbounds pass, Charlzae Holmes attempted to drive through the Sussex zone, but realizing he was double- or triple-teamed, he kicked the ball out to an open DeAndre Miles who got a clean look from beyond the arc. He released a three-pointer that arced perfectly to the hoop but every Dragon heart in the building skipped a beat as it rattled around before finally dropping through. The clutch basket gave the Dragons their first lead of the game with just 2.7 seconds showing on the clock.

As the ball dropped through the hoop, Sussex Coach Pope called his final timeout to try and give the Eagles a to score and at least tie the game. The final play of the game saw Surry successfully inbound the ball and get a shot off from half court before the buzzer sounded, but the ball struck the backboard well to the left of the hoop. And PV took the hard fought victory, 51-49.

Park View’s win clinched the regular season championship in the Tri-Rivers District and gave the Dragons the top seed in the district tournament that’s being played this week.

An exhausted but happy Coach Watkins stated afterwards, “In the second half our guys played with a lot of heart. I’m real pleased with just playing team basketball through adversity. That’s the biggest thing.

“Win lose or draw, I told them I would be proud of them as long as they played like a team and played hard.”

PV: Seward 2, M. Holmes 8, C. Holmes 16, L. House 8, D. Miles 5 (including the game winner) D. Bugg 12

SCH: Pope 8, Lipston 4, Mason 9, Palmer 4, Drew 16, Warren 8

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