Vann picks up Gar-Field in Cardinal District


[email protected]

DALE CITY — As painful as the end of the first half was to Gar-Field on Saturday night, the Indians and top scorer Chris Vann found the strength to keep their season going.

By beating Hylton, 55-45, in the second Cardinal District boys basketball semifinal at Gar-Field, the host school advanced to Wednesday’s 8 p.m. final against Woodbridge. The Vikings and Indians will represent the district in the Group AAA, Northwest Region tournament, which begins next Saturday.

For Gar-Field (14-8), the news was bad and could’ve been worse at the break against Hylton. The team trailed 29-18 and Vann, a junior guard who averages 21.3 points per game, was hobbled with two turned ankles. Nevertheless, he went on to score 20 points — hitting that mark or more for the 16th time this season.

“We were still pumped up and confident at halftime,” Vann said. “In the second half, our quality of shots was better, we took better care of the ball, we made defensive stops and everyone gave an all-out effort. We didn’t want this to be our last game.”

Vann hurt his left ankle with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half, when he jumped in an effort to defend Hylton’s Deon Butler. After heading to the locker room to get medical attention, he returned with 1:29 remaining in the half and then rolled the other ankle while spinning for a shot in the final seconds.

“My teammates said, ‘You’ve got to play,’ ” Vann said after the game as he went to the training room for more tape. “We want to win the district championship and I’ll do anything for my teammates.”

In the second half, Vann scored 15 of his points. Teammate Dee Howard, a senior forward, put up 11 of his 15 in the fourth quarter, including the first eight of the period to stretch third-seeded Gar-Field’s lead to 43-33.

Hylton finished 13-7 after concluding the regular season in a tie for first place in the district. The Bulldogs, who went 4-2 in district play (one game ahead of Gar-Field), lost to Woodbridge on Friday night in a one-game playoff for the regular-season title.

Junior center Jermaine Hill led the Bulldogs with 15 points and nine rebounds. After suffering through a stretch of 7:42 without a point in the 50-42 loss to Woodbridge, Hylton went 9:34 with just two points in Saturday’s second half. During that stretch, Gar-Field turned a 31-20 deficit into the 43-33 advantage.

Vann and Howard, along with their combined 35 points, each shared game-high honors with nine rebounds.

WOODBRIDGE 41, FOREST PARK 38: In the first Cardinal semifinal at Gar-Field, the Vikings completed a three-day trek that included a win over each of the other teams in the four-team district.

“In the fourth quarter, I thought we showed a lot of signs of fatigue,” Woodbridge coach Will Robinson said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes at the end of the game, but I was proud of the way the team beat everyone in the conference without even getting to practice much. [After last weekend’s snowstorm], we practiced around noon each of these three days and then played at night.”

David Walker scored a team-high 11 points for Woodbridge (16-8). Forest Park’s Aaron Meachem was the game’s high scorer with 17. The Bruins (9-13) rallied from an eight-point deficit with 3:21 remaining, but Aziz Stewart missed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer from the deep right corner.

Similar Posts