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Dragons edge Barons in hoops opener

South Boston News
L’Anthony Joyner battles for the rebound for the Dragons during their Monday night game against Bluestone. (Steve Hinzman photo) / November 28, 2018

Two talented and well-coached teams met on the hardwood at Park View High gymnasium Monday night in the season opener for both Park View and Bluestone, and the Dragons came away with a hard-fought 69-66 victory.

Park View opened the scoring on their first possession after center Demetrius Bugg won the opening tip-off. Deandre Miles gained possession for Park View and hit a 3-pointer with just 19 seconds gone in the game.

The Barons answered quickly on their first possession as Michael Harris dropped in a 2-pointer at the 7:04 mark.

The teams continued to battle evenly through the first period until the 2:01 mark when D. Miles was called for a flagrant foul on Bluestone’s Chris Gregory. Gregory stepped to the line and dropped in one of his game-high 23 points. The Barons then maintained possession but couldn’t convert. With less than two minutes to play in the quarter the Barons were leading by six, but then the Dragons took control and started to claw their way back.

With 1:27 on the clock, PV sophomore Latavion House hit his second 3-pointer to pull to cut the Bluestone lead to 16-13. The Barons then got a 2-pointer from Datrione Shearin. Demetrius Bugg was able to get two points for the Dragons to pull it back to a 3-point gap. Then Hunter Sykes converted on two key free throws and the quarter ended with the Barons leading 18-17.

The second period opened with the Dragons quickly taking the lead and then going on a scoring run to stretch the margin to 30-19. With 5:40 left in the second quarter, however, the PV offense turned cold. The Barons took advantage of the Dragons scoring lull to pull back into a 30-30 tie with 1:46 left in the half.

L. House finally sank a free throw for the Dragons to end the 5-minute scoring drought. With 50 seconds left in the half, Bluestone’s Jordan Hill hit a free throw to give Bluestone a 1-point advantage. The next Dragon trip down the floor saw Jason Dugger get an offensive rebound and putback by move Park View into the lead, 33-31, as the first half came to a close.

In the third quarter Bluestone struck first to tie the game at 33-all as Xavier Johnson scored two of his four points. Both teams fought hard for the remainder of the quarter, with Park View maintaining the slimmest of margins until Josh Boyd hit a big three pointer to put the Dragons on top by six points with 2:30 left in the third.

Then with 10 seconds left in the stanza, Bluestone’s J. Hill hit a clutch three to pull the Barons back to within one, 50-49, and the quarter came to a close.

The fourth quarter was another tough battle. With three minutes gone on the clock, the Dragons had eked out a narrow advantage, 62-58. At the four-minute mark Chris Gregory was driving to what looked to be an easy lay-up for Bluestone when Bugg came seemingly out of nowhere to swat the ball away into the stands for a momentum-shifting rejection.

The Barons kept it tight for the remainder of the game, never falling behind by more than four points. Then with just seconds left to play and trailing by three, Barons head coach George Lancaster called a timeout to draw up the play he wanted to try and get the tie. The play worked exactly as planned and Chris Hilliard got a clean look from beyond the arc for a three point try, but couldn’t convert. His shot bounced high of the back of the rim was rebounded by another Baron who fed it back to Hilliard who got off another uncontested three that rattled around the rim and wouldn’t drop, giving Park View the victory.

Park View coach Danny Watkins said, “It was a game of runs. They would get one and then we would …. I’m really proud of this team,” he continued. “They fought hard all the way to the end.”

Lancaster struck an upbeat note. “We’re improving. We’re not at our pinnacle yet. I’d say about Christmas time we’ll reach our full potential. Park View and Coach Watkins have a solid program here. They’re talented kids and they are well led.”

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