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Commanders tame Tigers, take 8-A title
Feb 23, 2007 12:00 am
GORDONSVILLE — Matt Bradshaw likes to say good shooting covers a multitude of sins.
Not that Friendship Christian made that many mistakes Wednesday night, but 60-percent shooting made it impossible for Gordonsville to feed off its crowd consistently as the Commanders captured the District 8-A championship 62-42 before a loud bi-partisan throng Wednesday night.
"Made shots cover up a lot of mistakes," fourth-year Friendship coach Matt Bradshaw said after his Commanders captured their first district championship since 2001. "Can't say enough about the kids. They go out tonight, execute a game plan we worked on for two days.
"Defensively, I don't care what we shot, John Hatcher does a fantastic job. We put him on their biggest kid [Jake Dillard]. We told him to front. He battled, he knocked. I don't know how many points he had, but what he did on defense tonight – him, Michael Teeter, [John] Doak, Garrett [McKnight], [Adam] Stephens – all those guys came in there and did a great job of trying to shut Dillard down. That was our main focus, and a fantastic job."
Dillard was announced as the regular-season district Most Valuable Player before the game. Despite the defensive attention, he muscled in 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
But Friendship's MVP candidate, Teeter, scored 15 points and snared six rebounds to win tournament top honors. Doak dropped in two three-pointers as he and McKnight each tossed in 12 while Hatcher knocked down nine, Stephens eight, Taylor Ferraro and Parker Teeter three each and Lee Maasen two as the Commanders climbed to 22-5 for the season.
As the top seed, Friendship was the home team and wore the white jerseys. But though the FCS partisans turned out in force and made themselves heard, the Commanders were home team in name only.
"Anytime you go play on the road here, you're going into a hostile environment pretty much everywhere we go," Bradshaw said. "It's something we talked about to our kids. Last year, I thought it kind of affected us a little bit. We came in here, especially with a young group of kids and this year we were a little bit more prepared for it.
"But they hate you for a reason."
Ignoring the fans in the stands and staring down the Tigers on the court, Friendship scored the final seven points of the first quarter to lead 17-9 at the break.
Utilizing everything from the three-pointer [the Commanders connected on 7 of 11 from downtown] to the fastbreak off Gordonsville misses and turnovers, Friendship led 25-11 on a Doak interception and putback. With FCS on fire, the Tigers could never get a good run going as they trailed 31-21 at halftime.
Back-to-back fastbreak baskets by Michael Teeter and McKnight opened a 42-30 lead going into the fourth quarter. Doak scored off the glass and fed McKnight with a long pass for a breakaway layup to complete an 8-0 run and a 46-30 lead early in the fourth. The Tigers, who shot just 25 percent from the floor, got no closer than 13 the rest of the way in falling to 21-9.
Both teams will host first-round Region 4-A games at 7 p.m. Saturday. Friendship will entertain a Clay County team the Commanders have already beaten handily twice while Jackson County visits Gordonsville.
Saturday's winners will advance to the semifinals at Watertown next Tuesday.
Trousdale County captured third place earlier in the evening when Kaleb Holland found himself wide open for a layup and three-point play with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 47-44 win over Westmoreland. The Jackets will travel to Clarkrange on Saturday with the winner meeting the Clay County-FCS victor next Tuesday.
Joining Teeter on the All-Tournament team were McKnight and Doak.
Teeter and Mt. Juliet Christian's Victor Underwood were named to the All-District first team. Doak, McKnight and Watertown's Aaron Fountain were announced to the second team and Hatcher and Stephens to the third team.
Gordonsville's Shane Vaden was named Coach of the Year.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.