It came down to the final buzzer Friday night at Mount View High School. James Monroe’s three fell off the rim and the Golden Knights claimed a 46-43 win over the Mavericks in the opening game of the Class AA, Region III, Section 2 tournament.
James Monroe had chances to tie the game on a three with just over 10 seconds left, and again at the horn, but the shots did not fall.
“I thought both teams played really hard,” said Mount View head coach Gary Brown. “I thought James Monroe came in well-prepared. They have improved a lot over the season. That’s a testament to Coach (Jonathan) McPherson’s coaching. I think he did an excellent job with his young team. We were fortunate to make a couple of plays at the end and pull it out.”
Mount View took an early three point lead thanks to a basket by Paco Bonds and a three by Rashawn Brooks. James Monroe answered, scoring five straight to take a two point lead, thanks in part to a three by Caleb Spencer. The Golden Knights jumped back ahead by four only to see the Mavs pull to within a point on a trey by Caleb Brown. Mount View was on top 11-10 as the first quarter buzzer sounded.
It took the teams three-and-a-half minutes before the ball went through the hoop in the second period. Rasheed Lowe’s inside move put the Mavericks back ahead 12-11, but it was short-lived as the Knights’ Kenneth Brown scored on a layup and then a dunk. Brooks’ steal and basket capped an 8-0 Mount View run. Spencer drilled a three to break the run, then hit another with just over a minute to play before the half to bring James Monroe to within a point of tying the game. Ellis Bryson’s baseline jumper at the horn gave the Golden Knights a 21-18 halftime lead.
Coming out in the second half Jacob McKlarney quickly drew the Mavericks even as he sank a long three from the left wing. The lead went back and forth during the period before Spencer’s trey with 2:35 on the clock put Monroe ahead 30-28. Caleb Brown hit two free throws half a minute later to make it 32-28, marking the Mavericks’ largest lead of the night. James Monroe led 33-30 after three periods.
Mount View hung close and midway through the final quarter retook the lead on a Brooks three ball only to see Monroe knot things at 38 on Caleb Brown’s bucket.
James Monroe took the lead for the final time with 2:15 to play on what would prove to be their final basket of the night, Spencer’s fifth three pointer of the night that put the Mavs ahead 43-42. Bonds’ basket gave Mount View a one point lead. Kenneth Brown then blocked a Maverick shot and Bonds converted down low to make it 46-43 with 1:20 to play.
James Monroe fouled sending Mount View to the line but on two occasions the Knights missed the front end of one-and-ones.
McKlarney had a good look for a three and it bounded off the rim with 15 seconds to play. After another missed front-end of a one-and-one the Mavericks rushed the ball to midcourt and called time with 6.5 on the clock. A final three attempt by Spencer hit the iron and Mount View grabbed the rebound and escaped with the win.
“We had been hitting all night,” McPherson said. “We were looking to get it to him (Spencer) down three. He was one of our best options right there, but the last shot didn’t fall, plain and simple.”
“We were trying our best to stay on their shooters because they shot the ball well tonight,” said Gary Brown. “We told our guys to be in zero’s (Spencer) face, but you really don’t know who to guard because all of them shoot fairly well. We just made a conscious effort to switch out on all screens and made an intense effort to stay up on people and then finish the possession by getting the rebound.”
Brooks led the Golden Knights with 14 points, Bonds added 11 and Kenneth Brown nine.
Spencer led James Monroe and all scorers with 17 points, including five three point baskets. Caleb Brown tallied 13 for the Mavericks who finished the season with a 1-17 record.
“Regardless of the score we have always fought till the end and I’m proud of this team,” McPherson said. “They have character and regardless of the score they always play to the very end. We’ve got a lot of sophomores, so we are looking forward to next year.”
Mount View improved to 7-15 with the win and will face Bluefield, Tuesday night in Princeton in the sectional semifinals. Asked what the Knights were going to do to prepare for the contest, Brown laughed and said, “Pray.”
He continued, “We’re going to try to come up with something. I don’t know what it is. We’ll have to find something that we can do offensively. That’s something we haven’t been able to do against them. They’ve taken us out of everything we’ve tried to do. It’s going to be a test to try to come up with something we can do against them offensively.”
At Ergie Smith Court
JAMES MONROE (1-17)
Caleb Spencer 5 2-3 17, Caleb Brown 2 8-11 13, Lance Wilson 0 0-0 0, Dakota Copenhaven 0 0-0 0, Conner Boothe 0 0-0 0, Landon Shires 1 0-0 2, Preston Jones 2 0-0 4, Rasheed Lowe 1 0-0 2, Jacob McKlarney 2 0-0 5, Totals 13 10-14 43.
MOUNT VIEW (7-15)
Rashawn Brooks 6 0-2 14, Jaedon Burress 1 0-0 2, Kenneth Brown 4 1-2 9, Ellis Bryson 3 0-0 6, Marquis Bonds 0 0-0 0, Donnell Bonds 5 1-1 11, Marlin Marrs 1 0-0 2, Jawan Diggs 0 2-2 2, Totals 20 4-7 46.
James Monroe……10 8 15 10 — 43
Mount View………11 10 9 16 — 46
3-point goals: JM – 7 (Spencer 5, Brown, McKlarney); MV – 2 (Brooks 2) Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.