Trey Gillenwater had 26 points, Adam Hatter added 19 and Nick Jones chipped in with 17 as No. 6 seed Eastern Mennonite won at home 80-43 over No. 11 New Covenant of Lynchburg on Monday in the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association state boys basketball tournament.
The Flames, playing for the first time since Feb. 8, set a school playoff record with 16 3s. EMHS will host Veritas on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
A key to the win Monday was the defense against New Covenant senior Jadon Walker, who was held to 19 points. He has had at least two games of more than 40 points this season, according to EMHS Coach Chad Seibert. Walker had 44 points recently against North Cross and averaged 28.5 points per contest in his first 13 games this season.
"To hold him to 19 is quite an accomplishment," Seibert said after the win Monday. "We double teamed him quite a bit. We were able to keep him off-balance. We ran two guys at him most all of the time. He is like James Harden - he is super gifted."
The semifinals in the tourney are set for Thursday at higher seeds with the title game scheduled for Saturday. It is the third year in a row the Flames have advanced to the state event.
"That is a big deal for us. I feel like we have experience," said Seibert, whose team trailed by one after the first quarter. "We came out firing on all cylinders. They were able to keep up with us for one quarter and then after that we just pulled away."
Tyler Nickel of East Rockingham has been named the Region 2B boys basketball Player of the Year. He was joined on the all-region first team by Kyle Evick of East Rockingham, Canaan Pierce and Ricky Campbell of Page County, Ellis Nei of Clarke County, Bennett Bowers and Tanner Rivenburg of Buffalo Gap and Josiah Williams of Staunton.
The second-team was Cooper Keyes of East Rockingham, Jo'el Howard of Stuarts Draft, Jackson Taylor of Madison County, Walker Conrad of Strasburg, Manny Chapman, Jonathan Moore and Jamal Brown of Staunton, and Ethan Teter of Buffalo Gap.
Luray's Emilee Weakley, who helped the team win its first state title this past weekend, has been named the Region 2B girls Player of the Year. Other members of the first team were: Brynlee Burrill of Luray, Lindsay McDaniel of Madison County, Amaya Lucas of Buffalo Gap, Emma Witt of Staunton, Taylor Hankins of Page County, Kylene Franklin of Stonewall Jackson and Macy Smith of Strasburg.
The second team: Sterlyn Woodward of Madison, Caris Lucas of Page, Madi Armentrout, Leah Wood and Hadley May of Stuarts Draft, Keziah Williams of Staunton, Shea Ostrander of Buffalo Gap, and Kellsye Miller of Staunton.
Three of the top golfers at a season-opening college event in Georgia are from the area: senior Jacob Laughlin (East Rockingham) and sophomore Jacob Sears (Wilson Memorial) of Bridgewater and Hampden-Sydney's Meade Slonaker, a freshman from EMHS. The tournament is scheduled to end Tuesday.
The JMU lacrosse team is ranked No. 12 this week in Division I in the coaches' poll, the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association announced Friday. The Dukes are slated to host High Point on Friday at 4 p.m. in its first game of the season.
JMU goalie TJ Bush was named the Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the week after he had six saves on Sunday against Liberty in Harrisonburg. It was the 24th shutout of his college career.
- DN-R Sports Desk