Brentsville upsets Clarke County

NOKESVILLE — This time Brentsville didn’t give up.

After being swarmed under in the final five minutes by Clarke County in a 68-52 loss on Jan. 4, the Tigers weathered a terrific third quarter from the Eagles on Tuesday to pull out a 38-36 upset victory.

Sam Huff had 13 points and hit the game-winning shot, a 15-footer from the left corner, with eight seconds left. Clarke inbounded the ball and got a halfcourt shot off before the buzzer. However, Derek Underwood’s shot fell way short and the Brentsville student section piled on to the court in celebration.

The win gave the Tigers’ sole possession of first place in the Bull Run district at 6-1. The Eagles, No. 6 in the Group A poll, fell to 12-2 and 6-2.

“The fourth quarter down there, the last couple of minutes, I am not going to say that we gave up, but we just stopped playing,” Brentsville coach Doug Poppe said. “Here it happened in the third [quarter] but we never gave up.”

On his last shot, Huff was wide open thanks to penetration from Brian Owen, who drove into the lane, got double-teamed and then kicked the ball out to Huff.

“I told Brian [Owen], he’s one of my better one-on-one guys, to go one-on-one and create and he found Sam wide-open,” Poppe said. “He [Huff] had just hit a shot four feet to the left of that and he just knocked it down.”

Huff’s game-winner was precipitated by an excellent defensive stand by the Tigers (9-7). Jerrell Clark drove the left baseline and tried a runner near the blocks. However, Owen swatted the shot away. The ball caromed to Underwood but his shot was partially blocked by Ramsey Boyd.

With two fouls to give, Underwood was called for a reach-in on Boyd with just over 20 seconds left. However, the Eagles chose not to foul the rest of the way, setting the stage for Huff’s big basket.

Brentsville led 20-10 at halftime, controlling the defensive boards and the tempo of the game. Clarke County pressed the Tigers in their previous meeting but chose to lay back in a zone for the entire first half. The move shocked Poppe.

“We’re a halfcourt execution type of offense and that’s what we did, we found the holes, we got some layups, we got some easier shots,” Poppe said. “It [playing zone] surprised me.”

Conversely, it was the Tigers’ switch to zone midway through the second half that helped stem the Eagles’ momentum. After scoring just four points in the first half, Division I prospect Damien Hubbard scored 13 consecutive points on a three-point play, a jumper, two straight three-pointers and two more free throws to slice the deficit to 24-23.

The Eagles took a 29-26 lead into the fourth quarter and led 36-34 after Hubbard’s final basket of the game with 1:35 left. However, Huff found Boyd on a give-and-go in the lane and Boyd was fouled while attempting a layup. Boyd sank both free throws to tie the game.

“It seemed like it’s always someone different, like at the end of the game, that comes through for our team,” said senior Joe Lavely, who had the honors of guarding Hubbard most of the contest. “You never know who’s going to be the next one.”

Lavely finished with eight points while Underwood contributed nine for Clarke.

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