The Bluestone boys basketball team lost in a heartbreaking double overtime battle against the Cumberland Dukes on Wednesday night, December 11 at Bluestone High School. The Barons battled back from a double digit deficit late in the third quarter to force overtime, but eventually came up short in the end. It was a valiant effort by the Barons to overcome foul trouble and an early deficit, but in the end the Dukes were able to pull off the road win. The loss takes the Barons to 1-3 on the year after losing the night before to Buckingham by a score of 44-42. Two losses by a combined five points is tough, but there are a lot of positives to take away moving forward. “We played a good team. Cumberland shoots the ball real well and they are a well coached team.” Coach George Lancaster said after the game. “The kids played so hard and you want them to win.” Lancaster said.
Cumberland got off to a 19-13 first quarter lead off of some very good shooting from outside. The Dukes played outstanding defense throughout the game, getting into the passing lanes and disrupting the offensive rhythm of the Barons. Bluestone was able to cut the lead to 3 by halftime with a score of 28-25.
The Dukes came out firing again in the second half and were able to get their lead up to 14 over halfway through the third quarter. That’s when things got interesting, as the Barons were able to ramp up the pressure on the defensive end and forced several turnovers that led to points. Bluestone was able to tie the game in the fourth quarter, and had a long half court shot at the end of regulation for a chance to win that hit the front of the rim to end regulation tied at 54. In the first overtime, scoring was minimal with both defenses playing phenomenal. Both teams only scored 4 points each to end the first overtime tied at 58.
The offense was picked up a little bit in the second overtime as both teams were able to score more than the first. With Cumberland leading 63-60 with under a minute to go, Bluestone brought the ball up the court and a timeout was called when they got passed half court. The Barons were out of timeouts at the time which resulted in a technical foul being called on Bluestone. Cumberland was awarded two foul shots and the ball. Michael Harris was able to score 4 points inside in the last 45 seconds of double overtime, but the comeback would fall just short with Cumberland taking the win 69-66.
Nick Abernathy, who has missed the first couple of games with an ankle injury, came back in a big way last night, scoring 23 points and showing off his three point ability, shooting lights out for most of the night. Michael Harris also scored 23 points, creating that dominant presence in the middle for the Barons. The Baron defense was able to contain the Cumberland shooters late in the game, giving them the opportunity to create turnovers and score points off of those turnovers in order to make the comeback. “Defense carried us to double overtime.” Coach Lancaster said.
Coach Lancaster is optimistic about his teams chances going forward. “We want to play hard. We want to play smart, and we want to play together. We have two of those things.” Lancaster said, referencing that they are still working on playing smart. “That cerebral thing has got to come with experience.” he went on to say. Lancaster went on to use a journalism reference to explain the importance of his team playing smart. “The things that make journalism great is that quotation mark, that comma, that parentheses. We don't have those basketball wise right now, but once we do, we are going to be hard to handle. We are athletic, we have an outside scorer, an inside presence and three great defenders.” Lancaster said, praising his team. “Last night (against Buckingham) we had a shot to tie. Tonight we had a shot or two to win the game. We are not dejected, we are not down. It is early on, and we could easily be 3-0.” The Barons get a few days off to work on some things due to the Cumberland game being moved to Wednesday due to a schedule conflict on the Dukes part. Bluestone will be back in action on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday next week. They begin with Randolph Henry on the road, then travel to Amelia on Wednesday, then finish up the week with the cross-county rivalry against Park View. The varsity boys and girls will be at home against the Dragons, and the gym is sure to be packed as these two schools always brings a crowd when they face each other.