Sunday, March 14, 2010
Cave Spring Knights have their day as state high school basketball champions
Cave Spring tops Brunswick to repeat as VHSL champion. | Group AA Division 3 final: Cave Spring 54, Brunswick 43
Photos by JARED SOARES The Roanoke Times
Cave Spring's Quentin Dill drives to the basket past Brunswick's Mikale Walker during the fourth quarter.
Cave Spring's Josh Henderson hangs on the rim after dunking over Brunswick's DeVone Dugger.
Photos by JARED SOARES The Roanoke Times
Cave Spring players celebrate after beating Brunswick for the VHSL Group AA Division 3 championship Saturday at the Siegel Center in Richmond. Go online at roanoke.com for a photo gallery from Sunday's basketball action.
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Group AA Division 3 final
Cave Spring 54, Brunswick 43
- Aaron McFarling: Coach Hicks puts a little of himself into program
Group A Division 2 final
James River 47, Buckingham County 42
RICHMOND -- Billy Hicks stood with his Cave Spring basketball team in the middle of the floor at VCU's Siegel Center and held up two fingers.
Two fingers. Not three.
Cave Spring won its third state basketball championship in the last nine years Saturday as Clay Lacy scored 21 points to lead the Knights to a 54-43 victory over Brunswick in the VHSL Group AA Division 3 final.
The same snapshot was taken in 2009 after Cave Spring defeated Brunswick for the Division 3 title. Hicks coached the Knights to the 2002 Group AAA championship, but Saturday's celebration didn't include those bygone glory days.
Hicks held two fingers aloft for the 12 seniors on this year's team who brought back-to-back state championship trophies back to Roanoke.
"I haven't worn my 2002 state championship ring probably for two years," Hicks said. "This group right here won two state championship games together. I told them they will never, ever forget that."
Lacy's memory will be a long one, just like the four 3-pointers the 6-foot-4 senior forward sank en route to a 16-point performance in the first half that left Cave Spring up 29-18 at the break.
Brunswick held 6-foot-11 center Josh Henderson to eight points with a 2-3 zone defense, but Lacy's production was the first thing Bulldogs coach Bryant Stith cited after watching his team lose in the state final for the fourth year in a row.
"Clay Lacy put those guys on his shoulders and got them off to a great start in the first half," Stith said. "We wanted to take away their high-low offense. Clay Lacy just slid out to the 3-point line. We lost track of him to start the game. He gave them the confidence they needed. That's what a veteran team does. When something's not working, they go to Option B."
Cave Spring (25-4) outscored Brunswick 23-12 in the fourth quarter after the two teams tied at 31 with eight minutes to play.
Backup guard Justin White put the Knights ahead to stay at 34-31 with a 3-pointer, then reserve forward Erik Jacobsen followed a trey by Adam Hager with one of his own for a 40-35 Cave Spring lead.
Four days after going 3-for-18 from 3-point range in a semifinal win over New Kent, the Knights hit nine 3-pointers Saturday as White made a pair.
"We knew they were going to double-down on Josh," Lacy said. "The game before, I went 1-for-5. We knew we were going to have to improve our shooting."
Lacy wasted little time, bagging two 3-pointers on Cave Spring's first nine possessions. When he swished a deep one from the right corner just before the half, the Knights had their first double-figure lead of the game at 29-18.
Lacy scored 22 points against New Kent with most coming in the low post. His versatility in the final two games keyed the title run.
"It's everything," Hicks said. "I've often thought, 'How would I play Clay if I were playing against him?' If you put a guard on him, he's going to go to work down low. If you put a big guy on him, he's going to stretch the defense. The great thing about Clay is I know there's somebody sitting there who loves the game and wants to win as much as I do."
Mark Overstreet also played a critical role with his defense. Hicks put the 6-foot-2 senior on high-scoring Brunswick guard Casey Walker, who had 68 points in the Bulldogs' first two tournament games.
Walker scored 20 points, but it came on 6-of-18 shooting including back-to-back airballs during a crucial second-half juncture.
"I'm pretty sore," Overstreet said. "Coach pretty much told me at the beginning of the game I was basically playing one-on-one with him, that I had no responsibilities anywhere else. I tried to make it hard on him to get the points he got. It was definitely a team effort guarding him."
Hicks used Overstreet as a defensive stopper for three seasons.
"When I play with these guys in open gym, I have a rule that he can't guard me," Hicks said. "Otherwise I don't get any open shots."
Inside three minutes, Cave Spring still needed some points to clinch the championship.
Senior guard Quentin Dill drove the lane for a layup and a 43-37 lead with 2:56 left. It was Dill's only basket and the final one for the Knights.
"We'd been going inside to Josh and kicking it out to Clay," said Dill, who offset 10 turnovers with eight assists. "I think they kind of figured that out towards the end of the game. They were leaving me alone. The middle was open and I took it."
The Knights missed seven free throws down the stretch to delay the party.
"If you'd have told me before the game we'd have 20 turnovers and 10 missed free throws and still beat Brunswick, I'd have called you a liar," Hicks said.
Stith is wondering what it will take for one of his teams to reclaim a state title Brunswick last won in 2003 with a victory over Cave Spring.
In the last four years the Bulldogs have lost to William Fleming, Millbrook and now Cave Spring twice.
"It's so hard to get here, and it's even more difficult to put it all together," Stith said. "You relish these occasions because we know it's not a given when you throw the ball up in November.
"I'm coming back. You guys are going to get sick and tired of looking at me, because I want one of these before I go anywhere. I feel like I have unfinished business."
Cave Spring seniors have completed their work.
"The second time was much harder than the first time," Lacy said. "You have everybody gunning for you. You don't have very good odds at all. This is a testament to our team. We've been friends forever. This is how we wanted to end it."
C.Walker 6-18 5-5 20, M.Walker 0-3 0-0 0, Dugger 5-10 0-0 10, Jones 4-11 1-2 9, Green 2-3 0-1 4, Rice 0-2 0-0 0, Valentine 0-0 0-0 0, Brydie 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 6-8 43.
CAVE SPRING (25-4)
Overstreet 1-2 1-3 3, Lacy 6-13 5-8 21, Henderson 4-7 0-2 8, Dill 1-3 3-5 5, Hager 2-3 1-2 6, Jacobsen 1-1 0-0 3, White 2-3 0-0 6, Brenner 0-0 2-2 2, Wilkes 0-0 0-0 0, Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Harriman 0-0 0-0 0, Feldenzer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-32 12-22 54.
Brunswick 11 7 13 12--43
Cave Spring 13 16 2 23--54
3-point goals -- Brunswick 3-13 (Walker 3-9, Jones 0-4), Cave Spring 8-17 (Lacy 4-10, White 2-3, Jacobsen 1-1, Hager 1-2, Dill 0-1). Rebounds -- Brunswick 24 (Green 6), Cave Spring 29 (Henderson 8). Assists -- Brunswick 7 (Jones 5), Cave Spring 14 (Dill 8). Total fouls -- Brunswick 22, Cave Spring 12. Fouled out -- C.Walker.