BRISTOL, Va. – Forgive Virginia High if they felt like they were playing a football team on Saturday.
With a front line that included a pair of 6-foot-4 bruisers, Princeton dominated the Bearcats inside, scoring 29 second quarter points on their way to a 69-58 FriendshipCars.com FCA Prep Showcase victory over Virginia High at the Bearcat Den.
Kris Joyce, a 5-11 junior, scored 23 points, including 12-for-14 from the free throw line, while 6-4 Jon Wallman added 14 points and seven boards for Princeton, which outscored the Bearcats 29-10 in the second quarter to take a 38-23 lead into the break.
Nik Fleming, who stands 6-2, added 10 points and six boards for the Tigers. Joyce also had eight boards for Princeton, which won the rebound tally by a convincing 36-17.
That is one area Virginia High (10-4) head coach Julius Gallishaw will be looking for improvement as the season progresses.
“We have got to get tougher, that is the biggest thing. People are going to push us around like that,” Gallishaw said. “We are not an overly-sized team, we don’t have a big team so people are going to do that to us and we are going to have to learn from that and grow from that.
“I thought we did a good job. We were just out-physicaled up front, they were just taller and bigger than us. They rebounded the ball well and we just kind of got knocked around a little bit.”
Princeton out-scored the Tigers 35-31 in the second half, with Dante Worley leading the Bearcats with 23 points, including three 3s, while Kenyae Carter had 12 points in the loss.
The Bearcats went 1-2 over a three-game span in their home event, defeating Holston and falling to Radford and Princeton.
“I was proud of my guys. Princeton was very physical, they had a lot of big boys in there and my guys didn’t step back or anything. They went in there and fought the whole time,” Gallishaw said. “Princeton is a good group, hats off to them. We have just got to do better and tighten up our defense, but hats off to Princeton, they did a good job.”
Blue Ridge 58, ISA 54
Robbie Matos was the smallest player on the court, but he made a huge impact for Blue Ridge School in a four-point win over International Sports Academy (ISA), which is located in Willoughby, Ohio.
The 5-foot-9 Matos played with a no-fear attitude, continually driving into the lane against bigger opponents, making 10-of-15 shot attempts to finish with 26 points. He also helped harass ISA into 17 turnovers.
“Robbie played with a chip on his shoulder today. When you are an undersized guard you need to play that way,” Blue Ridge head coach Chad Lemcke said. “You are always out to prove something because you are when you are undersized, and I thought he was great.”
Blue Ridge (16-4) used an 18-8 third quarter advantage to pull away by 11 in the fourth, and was able to hold off ISA at the end. Syracuse signee Malik Brown added 11 points – nearly all on dunks – and eight rebounds, while Houston Emory had nine points.
ISA was led by Jared Frey, who finished with 26 points, while Gruger Brcic added 11. Dayton signee Mike Sharavjants had five in the loss.
“Obviously it sucks to be on the other side of it, but I just thought both teams played really hard,” said ISA head coach Mike Briski, who was complementary of the officiating in what was a physical game. “I just thought when you leave a game like that – win or lose – you know you played a helluva game, both teams.
“It was really fun just to be part of such a good basketball game.”
Both coaches hope to return to Bristol in the future.
“I am just excited to be able to come down here for this event,” Lemcke said. “It is unbelievable, the venue is great, the gym is great, the competition, both Brad [Harper] and Kevin [Timmons] do an unbelievable job.
“We are so excited to be able to come and hopefully it will be something we can do again in the future.”
“This is our first time here, first class,” added Briski. “We go to a lot of events and we cross events off our list every year and this one will stay circled.”
Lebanon 72, Narrows 62
Keyton Keene scored 26 points, connecting on four 3s, while leading the Pioneers past the Green Wave in the first of eight games on Saturday at the Bearcat Den.
Lebanon, which also received 16 points from Brody Wess and 15 by Andy Lambert, led 26-8 after the first quarter and 46-32 at the break.
Narrows was led by Kolier Pruett with 25 points, including a trio of 3s, while Derek Johnston added 18.
Lebanon was 22-for-37 from the free throw line, while Narrows was 9-of-11.
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