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Park View felled Monday by I.C. Norcom

South Boston News
DeAndre Miles makes a power move to the basket during the second half of the Dragons’ heartbreaking loss to the Greyhounds of I. C. Norcom Monday night at PVHS. (Steve Hinzman photo) / February 21, 2018

The Park View Dragon boys’ goal of getting to the state 3A championships was short-circuited Monday night when the Dragons were knocked off by I.C. Norcom, 53-50, in east regional tournament action.

I.C. Norcom is a basketball powerhouse in the state of Virginia, coming into the game Monday in South Hill as defending state champions at the 4A level. (The Portsmouth school was reclassified to 3A this season.) Park View received a bye as third seed in the Class 3A East region, and the Norcom win in front of a raucous home crowd at PVHS left no doubt that the Greyhounds can challenge for another state title this year.

Play opened with the Greyhounds winning the tip and drawing first blood as Desean Roberts hit a three pointer just 30 seconds into the game. For their part, the Dragons got off to a bit of a slow start and had trouble heating up.

The Greyhounds sank two more treys to put the team in green and white into a 9-0 hole before Demetrious Bugg got things started for the Dragons with a deuce at 4:06. Park View was able to claw back into the fight with DeAndre Miles scoring three points on a field goal and foul shot, and Charlzae Holmes nailing a beautiful three pointer at 2:40 that cut the lead to just one, 9-8, with 2:40 to play.

Just 13 seconds later, Norcom turned the ball over to Jatonio Seward and the young Dragon made good on the opportunity, hitting the lay-up to take the lead. The Greyhounds got a two-pointer from C. Hamlin to take the lead back at 2:00.

With the Dragons trailing by one, Nile Atwater was fouled by a Greyhound as he fired a desperation shot at the buzzer and went to the line to shoot three free throws. He calmly completed all three and the first period ended with the Dragons holding a two-point lead, 13-11.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the second as C. Holmes hit a deuce at 7:12, but then the Greyhound defense turned up the heat, holding the home team to just four points for the frame. Their defensive pressure was unrelenting and caused composure problems for the Dragons, who committed two early turnovers for the Greyhounds that led to points on the board.

Norcom outscored the Dragons 12-4 in the stanza to take a 23-17 lead into the locker room at the half. Considering that his team had only put four points on the board in the second period, Dragon head coach Danny Watkins had to feel pretty good to only be trailing by six at the break.

The third period was more or less a draw on the scoreboard but momentum-wise the Dragons were clearly the winners. They attacked every play, harassed every Greyhound and generally did everything they could to make life difficult to the visitors. Even though both teams scored 18 points in the stanza, PV clearly had emotional upper hand as the period ended. Scoring in the period for the Dragons were Bugg, C. Holmes, Tae Holmes, Seward and Nile Atwater. As the period ended Park View still trailed by six.

The fourth quarter opened with a bang for the home team as D. Bugg took a beautiful pass from Hunter Sykes and scored an easy deuce at the 7:40 mark. After a turnover by each team, the Greyhounds were in possession and were able to beat the PV defense with a fast break that required an intentional foul by Seward to stop the Greyhounds for getting an easy bucket.

Norcom’s Darien Allison went to the line to shoot three on the intentional foul call and only made one. After the free throws, Norcom maintained possession but the Greyhounds were unable to capitalize, so as it turned out the intentional foul worked out in favor of the Dragons.

The PV defense then stepped up and held the Greyhounds scoreless over the next three minutes, all the way down to the 3:10 mark, when Donnell Langford broke the drought with a deuce for the Greyhounds. In the meantime, the Dragon offense started to find its range and they started to cut into the Greyhound lead.

C. Holmes hit a trey at 6:00, Miles hit two at 4:29 and Bugg got two at 2:50 to cut the lead to six, 50-44. With just over two minutes to play, Miles hit a deuce and drew a foul for the Dragons. He completed the free throw and the lead was down to four, 51-47. At this point, the PV defensive pressure was really working well as they forced two Norcom turnovers and D. Bugg made a huge defensive play at 1:41 with a monster block of a Norcom player’s shot.

Then disaster struck. The Dragons, down by just one, came out of a timeout with 32.5 seconds to play and threw the ball away for a turnover of their own. After the inbounds play by Norcom, Park View was forced to foul the ballhandler, but he missed the front half of the 1-and-1 opportunity. Down by only one point and given renewed hope, the Dragons had a chance to take the lead but missed their next shot. PV was again forced to foul a Norcom player and this time Allison went to the line and sank one of two tries for the Greyhounds.

With the Norcom clinging to a 51-49 lead, Bugg drew a foul for Park View with 8.7 seconds left to play. He made one of two to leave the Dragons trailing by only one, but Norcom got the ball in-bounds and PV had to immediately foul, sending Javon Magette to the line where he sank both tries for a 53-50 lead.

With just seconds to play and needing a three-pointer to send the game to overtime, Coach Watkins called a quick timeout. The Dragons inbounded the ball into the hands of senior leader Charlzae Holmes, and Holmes got a reasonably clear look at the basket. But his attempt at a trey was off and the Dragons saw their season come to an abrupt end with the 53-50 defeat.

Afterward, an obviously despondent Coach Watkins was quick to praise his players following an outstanding season that saw the Dragons rise to the top of the Tri-Rivers District. “I’m really proud of the way the young men responded tonight,” said Watkins. “We just didn’t get there in the end.”

C. Holmes finished the night as Park View’s top point getter with 15, followed by Bugg with 11 and Miles with 10. Majette led all scorers with 17 for Norcom.

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