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North Cross title bid comes up short
Amelia mounts a furious fourth-quarter rally to snatch the championship away from the Raiders.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
PETERSBURG - The North Cross boys basketball team finished one step closer to a state championship this season but still one step short.
Amelia Academy put together a fourth-quarter rally to beat North Cross 54-49 in the VIS Division III championship on Saturday at Virginia State University.
In the final five minutes, the second-seeded Patriots (35-7) turned a five-point deficit into five-point win, outscoring the fourth-seeded Raiders 15-5.
"We had this ballgame won," said North Cross coach Bill Hodges, whose team made the semifinals last year and upset No. 1 Carlisle on Friday to make this season's title game. "We didn't finish the job."
Josh Bailey had 19 points and Reid Jacoby scored 14 of his 16 in the second half to lead the Amelia Academy comeback.
The Patriots trailed 44-39 with just over five minutes left but scored the next 11 points.
"I thought we were getting good looks; the ball wasn't falling for us," Amelia coach Tim Jacoby said. "So the main thing I thought was: don't get frustrated. Just keep running the offense and trust one another and trust the offense, and the ball will start falling. And when the ball starts falling, our defense feeds off of that."
Naanma Yamsat's layup while getting fouled gave Amelia its first lead since the second quarter at 45-44. Otis Williams' steal and layup at the other end made it 47-44.
With 1:17 left, senior forward Deividas Grigenas got the ball in the corner after the Patriots broke the press and sank a 3, his only bucket of the game and Amelia's ninth 3-pointer, to complete the 11-0 run.
North Cross, which played most of the fourth quarter without senior guard Tayonte Calloway, who turned an ankle earlier in the game, had a late chance to tie it. Keith Oddo, who finished with 10 points, completed a three-point play that pulled the Raiders within 50-47 with 1:06 remaining.
After an Amelia turnover, Bennett Holley got a good look at a 3 with 35 seconds left but was off target. The Patriots got the rebound and a layup at the other end by Bailey to put the game out of reach.
"I know [Amelia Academy] hasn't had a lot of success in the past," said Jacoby, who has only been with the program the last three years with his son. "But I've watched them take baby steps the last few years. They've gotten better and better and it culminated this year."
Peter Agba led North Cross with 16 points and 14 rebounds. After getting poked in the eye early in the third quarter, he took over, scoring the Raiders' first 10 points in the second half, as they opened up a 31-24 lead that would grow to as many as eight early in the fourth quarter.
"He showed how tough he is," Hodges said.
Holley had 10 points for North Cross and Matt Doughty nine.
The Raiders, who finished the game with all underclassmen on the floor, finished their season with a 21-7 record. Hodges was disappointed but remembered a letter he got from former UCLA coach John Wooden after his Indiana State team featuring Larry Bird lost in the 1979 NCAA championship game.
"I think he was quoting a great statesman when he said, 'No victory is final and no defeat is fatal,' " Hodges said. "And that's what I need to make sure I make the kids understand."
NORTH CROSS (21-7)
Lawson 0 0-0 0, Oddo 3 3-3 10, Doughty 4 0-0 9, Dakermandji 0 0-0 0, Caveness 0 0-0 0, Holley 4 0-0 10, Calloway 0 0-0 0, Lamance 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Bagliani 0 0-0 0, H. Call 0 0-0 0, Lowery 2 0-0 4, D. Call 0 0-0 0, Agba 7 2-2 16, McCoy 0 0-0 0. 20 5-5 49.
AMELIA ACADEMY (35-7)
Jacoby 6 1-2 14, Bailey 7 2-2 19, Williams 3 1-2 9, Byla 0 0-0 0, Coleman 0 0-0 0, Scott 0 0-0 0, Jousisto 0 0-0 0, Yamsat 3 1-2 7, Urosevic 0 0-0 0, Lane 0 0-0 0, Bell 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Grigenas 1 0-0 3. 20 5-8 54.
North Cross 12 9 17 11-49
Amelia Academy 11 7 14 22-54
3-point-goals - North Cross 4 (Holley 2, Oddo, Doughty), Amelia Academy 9 (Jacoby 3, Bailey 3, Williams 2, Grigenas). Total fouls - North Cross 11, Amelia Academy 11. Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None.