It took only five games, but the James Monroe boys basketball team appears to be in mid-season form.
The Yellow Jackets overcame Mountain View’s full-court pressure defense and a barrage of Wildcat 3-pointers for an opening-round 78–73 victory at the third annual James Monroe Holiday Basketball Festival on Friday night. In Saturday’s semifinal round, the Jackets will oppose Riverbend, a 65–45 winner over King George, at 7 p.m.
The contest included eight lead changes, the final occurring in the closing minute of the third quarter when the Jackets forged a 64–60 advantage. The Wildcats were within six points when JM took a time out with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Jackets responded with an 8–2 run to take charge.
“We were expecting it,” JM coach Carlos Evans said when asked about Mountain View’s 14 3-pointers. Mountain View senior Andrew Pitts led the outside shooters with seven 3-pointers, to finish with a game-high 25 points to go along five assists and a blocked shot. Teammate Branden Jory had four treys and finished with 16 points.
For JM, Ricky Goode–Wright and Jack Hardy tied for high-scorer honors with 22 points apiece, while teammate Aaron Carter chipped in with 20 points.
While Mountain View’s offense was predicated on long-range shooting and transition fastbreaks off turnovers, JM exhibited a probing attack that was willing to take shots either inside or outside.
Jack Hardy, a star linebacker for the football team, indicated he had his “basketball legs” and showed a willingness to play physical inside game when the need arose. The senior had a team-high 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. His younger brother Joe Hardy also made his presence felt with his hustle as well as contributing six points, four steals and four assists.
Both Goode–Wright and Carter had a trio of 3-pointers and the backcourt duo combined for eight assists. Goode–Wright also was able to crack Mountain View’s pressure defense after the Jackets committed 14 turnovers in the first half.
The Wildcats, who face King George at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a consolation game, were undone partially by their free throws and foul woes. Mountain View misfired on its first six free-throw attempts, then saw starters Darius Crouch and Alex Davis assessed their fourth fouls in the final minute of the third quarter. Both players as well as another Wildcat would eventually foul out in the fourth quarter.
The tournament wraps on Monday with four games.
Mountain View (2-2): Will Hamill 10, Duncan Beaumont 0, Andrew Pitts 25, Jabez Clark 5, Darius Crouch 3, Jordan Jackson 4, Alex Davis 10, Braden Jory 16, Colin Carroll 0, Slater Sparks 0, Colin Lafley 0, Brayden Hanny 0. Totals: 24 5-12 73.
James Monroe (3-2): Aaron Carter 20, Ricky Goode-Wright 22, Tyler Whitman 0, Joe Hardy 5, Greg Williams 1, Jack Hardy 22, DaQuane Brown 2, Christian Young 6, RJ Turner 0. Totals: 29 14-29 78.
3-pointers: Mountain View 14 (Pitts 7, Jory 4, Hamill 2, Clark). James Monroe 6 (Goode-Wright 3, Carter 3).