Fighting their way through the season, the Essex High Varsity Boys Basketball Team earned the third best regular season record to earn a spot in the Northern Neck District Tournament. But after knocking off the defending tournament champion Lancaster Red Devils, they fell in the final seconds to the fourth seeded Northumberland Indians last Friday.
In Wednesday’s opening game, the Essex Trojans surprised the Lancaster Red Devils in an upset, 50-45. Essex took advantage of missed scoring opportunities by Lancaster and slowed down the game to a tempo that favored their style of play. The Trojans opened with a one-point lead, 8-7, in the first period and never trailed. Lancaster was led by Taj Smith with 13, Tyler Colding had 12, Trevon Taylor scored 10, Tykwon Redmond and Javonte Smith both had four and Devonte Stewart two.
For Essex, Alonzo Tompkins scored 12, Keith Bundy 10, Larry HilI seven, Alex Balderson six, Sterling Hammond five, Dejour Ashlock and C.J. Jones four each and Raheim Rolling two.
The championship game, which was competitive through-and-through, kicked off with the Indians holding a narrow 11-10 lead after the first period.
But Essex stormed into 25-18 point before both teams headed to the locker room.
The Indians cut the Trojans’ lead to three by the conclusion of the third quarter. The game came down to the last seconds with Essex in control of the ball, taking the last shot for the win.
Keith Bryant had already blocked two shots and the final would be the game winner as he blasted the ball away with time running out.
Jackson led the Indians with 16 points. Bryant had 11, Lewis 10, Elmore seven and Morris six. Bryant also added 11 rebounds, Morris had nine and Lewis seven. Elmore had six assists and Lewis had three. Lewis had seven steals while Elmore had three.
In the second game of the Northern Neck District Girls Basketball Tournament, Lancaster got by a determined Essex squad, 56-50. The Lady Red Devils took a 27-15 halftime advantage into the locker room. The Lady Trojans battled back in the second half to cut the lead to five points by third quarter’s end only to fall by six points at the buzzer.
Lancaster was led by Shamerah Taylor’s 23 points as she topped the 1,000 point total for her career that evening. Beane scored 12, Davenport had 11, Aaliyah Morris-Lee had eight and Sutton three. The Lady Trojans were led by Zenya Butler with 23 and Jaeleh Rivers with eight.
Lancaster went on to fall in the finals to Northumberland, 45-42. Northumberland defeated Colonial Beach in the semifinals 45-39.