Broadway’s Kenley Lohr shoots as Turner Ashby’s Jonathan Keppel defends Tuesday in Bridgewater. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
BRIDGEWATER – As the Gobblers’ regular season came to an end Tuesday, Broadway High School boys’ basketball coach Dwight Walton was left with a slight dilemma: He’s uncertain about which Division 4 team he’d rather face in the first round of next week’s Valley District tournament.
That’s because Turner Ashby has made it a race again with Harrisonburg.
Junior guard Shane Brown led three Knights in double figures with 13 points as TA took advantage of a hot start and held on for a 46-40 win over Broadway Tuesday night.
The victory – coupled with a Harrisonburg loss to R.E. Lee – keeps the Knights (12-9 overall, 5-6 in the Valley) in contention for the bye in the three-team D4 bracket of the district tournament, which begins Monday. TA coach Chad Seibert was simply happy to have something to play for going into Friday’s regular-season finale at Lee.
“It’s fun,” said Seibert, who pointed out that HHS owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. “It’s a fun scenario. You know, we can only control what we can control and that’s what we were focused on.”
HHS (10-11, 5-6) finishes its regular season at home against Waynesboro on Friday.
High-energy practices lately translated onto the court, Brown said, with the Knights taking an 11-3 lead on senior night. About six minutes into the game, all five TA starters were on the score sheet. TA senior forward Justin Layman and junior guard Taylor Corbin each finished with 11 points.
Junior guard Austin Phares scored eight straight points for Broadway during a 10-2 run in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 21-19 with 15 seconds showing. But TA’s Brenan Hanifee buried a 3-pointer before the buzzer.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Gobblers knocked down three consecutive shots to start the fourth and got within three points twice. When Phares converted a tough shot in the paint, BHS trailed 40-37 with 2:04 left. Brown answered with one of his five smooth dribble-drive layups on the night.
“He’s getting better,” Seibert said. “Shane had a good mentality tonight. He had a different look about him. I hope he can bring that more often.”
Following a timeout, Corbin got a critical steal and scored on the break to essentially put the game away with TA ahead 44-37 with 1:20 remaining. Layman iced the game with a pair of free throws after a Phares 3-pointer.
“We just can’t dig ourselves into holes,” said Phares, who had a game-high 13 points and nine rebounds. “We’ve gotta play consistent the whole game and not get ourselves in positions like that.”
Now, the Gobblers can shift their attention to the playoffs a few days earlier than most Valley teams. It all comes down to one game for Broadway: win and it qualifies for the Region III, D4 tournament. Walton’s plan? He said he thinks he’d rather play Harrisonburg, but is planning on seeing the Knights, again.
“I hate to say this, but for some reason, just from playing two games back-to-back, I feel more comfortable defending and playing Harrisonburg,” Walton said, referring to a 61-53 loss to HHS on Friday. “For some reason, we’re struggling with our matchups with TA. … We’ll continue probably to prepare hard for TA.”