By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRISTOL, Va. —
Derrick Lee is a good, if a very reluctant shooter.
Fortunately for Virginia High he’s also quite unselfish and a very good passer.
Lee handed out 13 assists to lead the Bearcats to a 78-49 win over Grundy in the first round of the Region D, Division 1 tournament Monday night.
Lee, who didn’t have a single assist in the first period, doled out six in the second quarter, four of them late in a 16-2 run that gave Virginia High some breathing room after a slow start.
The Bearcats (12-13) overcame a 12-10 deficit to take a 26-12 lead and never looked back.
Zack Bossard was the recipient of several of Lee’s passes. Bossard came off the bench to score nine of his team-high 19 points in the second quarter as Virginia High built a 42-26 halftime lead. Nick Howard was on the receiving end several times as well and finished with 15 points.
It’s probably safe to say that if Lee finishes in double figures in assists it’s probably going to be a good night for the Bearcats.
Grundy gave the junior point guard open looks on the perimeter in an effort to stop his dribble penetration and he finally took advantage of them. The junior point guard drilled two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for a double-double in barely three quarters of action.
“Derek does a fine job for us,” Virginia High coach Wayne Rasnick said. “He’s a three-year starter and the best news is, we’ve got him back next year.
“I’ve always told him since he was a little fella in the ninth grade, you got nine assists that’s 18 points for the team. That’s the way I break it down. I’m real proud of his effort.”
Grundy got a good all-around effort, including a double-double, from sophomore Charles McCoy, who contributed 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal. Dylan Billiter added 16 points for the young Golden Wave, who lost to the Bearcats by 41 points in their previous meeting.
“Overall I was pleased with our effort, at least in the first half,” first-year Grundy coach Jeremy Ratliff said. “We definitely played better against them this time.
“Virginia High, they should be a top four seed. The way the season played out they ended up a seven seed, but I think they’re a top four team.”
The Bearcats, the seventh seed in Division 2, travel to number two seed Honaker in quarterfinal play on Wednesday.
Grundy finishes a true rebuilding season, with a new coach, an all-new system and mostly new players, with a 3-20 record. But half the team consists of sophomores and all of the team will return next season.
“We had one varsity player at the start of this year, so we’ve come a long way,” Ratliff added. “And we’ve got all eight we had here tonight back next year so the future looks bright in my opinion.”
At The Bearcat’s Den
C.McCoy 7 3-4 19, Billiter 7 1-1 16, Nash-Cleek 0 0-0 0, J. McCoy 2 0-0 4, Dillow 2 2-3 6, Viars 1 0-0 2, Cehajic 0 2-4 2, Harr 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-12 49.
VIRGINIA HIGH (12-13)
Lee 4 2-2 12, Howard 7 0-0 15, Lang 1 1-2 3, Davis 2 0-0 5, Fudge 3 1-2 7, Obuekwe 4 1-1 9, Bossard 7 2-4 19, Clisby 2 0-0 4, Rasnake 2 0-1 4, Delaney 0 0-0 0, McKlin 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 7-12 78.
Grundy...............14 12 12 11 — 49
Virginia High.....17 25 19 17 — 78
3-point goals – Grundy 3 (C. McCoy 2, Billiter); VH 7 (Bossard 3, Lee 2, Howard, Davis). Total fouls-Grundy 9, VH 11. Fouled out-none. Technicals-none.