Dragons come up short in VACA quarters

Dragons come up short in VACA quarters


Dragons come up short in VACA quarters


Stuart Hall’s Jalen Henderson takes the ball downcourt with Southwest Virginia’s Caleb Sanders, Joel Miller and Carter Johnson pursuing during a VACA state quarterfinal game played in Staunton on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Stuart Hall trimmed a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit to five, but could get no closer in falling 80-70 to Southwest Virginia Homeschool on Friday in the VACA boys’ basketball state tournament quarterfinals.

SWVHS built a 73-58 lead midway through the fourth quarter before the Dragons went on a 12-2 run behind nine points from Adam Pickett.

But the Conquerors hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final 23 seconds to pull out the win and advance to the state semifinals Saturday at Westover Christian Academy in Danville.

“Down the stretch I really think we kind of kicked it into gear,” Stuart Hall coach Sean Crocker said. “That was something I was trying to get them to do the whole half, to kind of play with that sense of urgency. I think they started to get it, but maybe it was just poor coaching, pushing the right buttons.”

Pickett finished his high-school career finale with 37 points. He will play for Winthrop University next year.

“He’s just helped build up the younger guys,” Crocker said of Pickett, who came into the game averaging 31.9 points per game. “Number 14 (Jalen Henderson) is an eighth grader and he’s pretty talented and I think Adam has kind of been in his ear a lot. He’s definitely made Trae’s (Lawrence) job a lot of easier from having to be a point guard he can more focus on his scoring role. It’s helped Colin (Whitmore), too. He’s just a great kid.”

SWVHS finished the game with 12 3-pointers, something that Crocker knew was coming, but said still had a negative impact on his team early in the game.

“It just took a second for us to figure it out,” Crocker said. “There was a stretch there in the third quarter where I thought we had figured it out and lo and behold one kid just put one in and our kids just started thinking about it.”

The teams battled back and forth for most of the game, but with SWVHS leading 55-52 early in the fourth, the visitors went on a 13-4 run to lead by 12.

“They decided to spread it out and kill some clock,” Crocker said. “That was something we hadn’t prepared for. You watched the first three quarters, that team was trying to run and gun. They just slowed it down and they were meticulous and they were really fundamental and they were really well coached.”

After Pickett scored on a layup, the Conquerors scored the next five points to lead 73-58.

Stuart Hall then tried to rally, but it came up just short, ending the Dragons season with an 18-5 mark.

Besides Pickett, Lawrence is also a senior. He finished with 12 points in the loss. Henderson scored 11 and Whitmore finished with 10.

SWVHS (80) — Miller 5 5-5 18, Sanders 8 4-5 23, Johnson 2 0-0 5, Bishop 6 1-2 16, N. Vaughan 3 2-4 8, Sharp 3 2-2 10, Gibson, TOTALS 27 14-18 80.

STUART HALL (70) — Henderson 4 3-4 11, Lawrence 4 1-1 12, Colin Whitmore 4 0-0 10, Pickett 14 9-10 37, Cole Whitmore, Dahl, Yang, Zhou, Kim, Baiotto, Higgins, TOTALS 26 13-15 70.













Stuart Hall's Adam Pickett drives the ball through Southwest Virginia Homeschool traffic as he heads up court during their VACA state quarterfinal game Friday in Staunton.

Stuart Hall’s Adam Pickett drives the ball through Southwest Virginia Homeschool traffic as he heads up court during their VACA state quarterfinal game Friday in Staunton.


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