CHARLOTTESVILLE — Junior guard Haddon Smith poured in 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter and Liberty Christian hung on down the stretch to clinch a state tournament berth with a 53-49 road win over top-seeded Charlottesville in the Region 3C semifinals.
It was a game of runs in the first half, with each team getting hot on the offensive end. Charlottesville (21-5) was in charge early, but LCA found its legs in the second quarter, thanks to some lights out shooting from behind the arc. Smith knocked down four treys and Rynning Bohrnstedt added another one as the Bulldogs pulled even at halftime, 31-31.
In the third, Charlottesville went back in front on Jack Bowling’s step-back 3-pointer to take a 37-34 lead. But Connor Hartless and Bohrnstedt answered with treys of their own and Jalen Leftwich added a put-back to give the Bulldogs a 47-43 lead.
Points were tough to come by in the fourth, as both teams clamped down defensively. Trailing 51-49 with 30 seconds left, Isaiah Washington ripped the ball out of an LCA player's hand and had open floor ahead of him to tie the game. The play was blown dead though as the officials awarded LCA coach Paul Redgate a timeout to prevent the turnover.
After the timeout, Smith was fouled and buried both free throws to make it a two-possession lead with 25 seconds left. Charlottesville then missed all six shot attempts as time expired.
Bohrnstedt tallied 14 points to tie Smith for top score on the night. Hartless chipped in 13 points and Jalen Leftwitch finished with eight points.
“We’ve experienced some real tough games, some great atmospheres, so I feel like it’s something we’re trained for,” Redgate said. “We spend a lot of time in the classroom going over stuff and the guys did a really good job of keeping their composure.”
LCA advances to Friday’s Region 3C championship game, where they will face Western Albemarle in Crozet. The Warriors advanced with an overtime win over Spotswood.
Redgate said his team will be ready.
“We have, I feel like, the recipe for what you need to make a decent run,” he said. “We’ve got some depth. We’ve got some guys that can make plays on their own and we’ve got some shooters that can spread the court. But what we have is we’ve got 14 guys that can play as one unit and play together. I feel like when you have players like that, then you’re always dangerous to make a run.”
Radford 73, Appomattox 45
In Radford, Cam Cormany scored a game-high 32 points as Radford began the defense of its Class 2 state championship with a win over Appomattox in a Region 2C quarterfinal.
Radford (20-3) wasted little time taking control of Tuesday’s postseason opener as junior forward Alex Kanipe scored the Bobcats’ first seven points to put Radford up 7-2 in the early stages.
Appomattox (13-9) went into the half with some momentum when Tre Lawing caught a full-length court pass and scored on a layup at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 37-29.
The Raiders were led by Tyler Gilliam’s 17 points, but the guard picked up his fifth foul with 5:12 left in the contest and watched the rest of the game from the bench.
While the Bobcats pulled away in the end, their head coach said the final score was deceiving.
“What impressed me with them [Appomattox] was that they never quit. They just kept playing and we couldn’t get away from them. The score was no indication of how close that game was,” Radford coach Rick Cormany said.
Floyd County 79, Gretna 63
In Floyd, Dylan Bond scored 30 points and made five 3-pointers as the Buffaloes pulled away in the second half to defeat Gretna in the Region 2C quarterfinals.
Kaiden Swortzel and Tanyan Sutphin each scored 16 points for Floyd County (17-6).
Tony King and Devonte Blair each scored 12 points for the Hawks (15-7).
Cumberland 62, Altavista 54
In Cumberland, Javion Marion scored a game-high 17 points and Cumberland used a big third-quarter run to take control of a back-and-forth contest and claim a Region 1B quarterfinal victory over Altavista.
The No. 3 seeded Dukes (8-10) led 32-30 at the half and built a near 20-point lead midway through the third quarter before the Colonels (7-16) used a run to cut the deficit to 53-43 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cumberland, though, led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter.
Stuart Hunt scored 13 points and Jayllen Jones added 11 points for No. 6 seeded Altavista.
Steward 73, Virginia Episcopal 65
In Richmond, Curtis Blair scored 27, Efton Reid added 24, and No. 5 seed Steward edged VES in the first round of the VISAA Division II tournament.
Isaiah Simmons added nine points for the Spartans (26-6).
Fabio Dias scored 16 points and Robby Matos added 15 for the Bishops (14-18).
Gretna 57, Patrick County 53
In Gretna, Ty’Nasia Witcher scored a game-high 23 points and Gretna took advantage of its 50 trips to the free-throw line to defeat Patrick County in the Region 2C quarterfinals.
The No. 2 seeded Hawks (18-5) shot 27 of 50 from the charity stripe. They will play No. 3 seed Floyd County at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bassett High School.
Witcher added five steals for Gretna. Makeyla Mease finished with 18 points, seven steals and four assists, and Madison Walker added five points and eight rebounds.
Sierra Hubbard scored 18 points for the Cougars (14-11).
Martinsville 45, Nelson 43
In Martinsville, Bulldogs junior Leighton Jamison converted on a contested layup with 0.2 seconds remaining to lift Martinsville to a thrilling victory over Nelson in the Region 2C quarterfinals at Martinsville Middle School.
“It was pressure,” Jamison said. “It was either make or miss. If I miss it, I let down the team. If I didn’t miss it, I made my team proud. So I had to step up and make my team proud.
“It was amazing.”
Nelson (13-10) tied the score at 43 with two free throws with 15 seconds remaining.
Nelson's Hailea White led all scorers with 15 points and had two of the Governors' four 3-pointers.
Magna Vista 48, Staunton River 35
In Ridgeway, Magna Vista used a dominating third quarter to pull away and defeat Staunton River in the Region 3D quarterfinals.
The Warriors (19-2) led 16-15 at the halftime and used a 20-4 edge in the third quarter to pull away from the Golden Eagles (16-9).
TaNashia Hairston led the Warriors with 24 points.
Holy Cross 41, Brunswick Academy 36
Kenadi Knight scored 12 points to lead three players in double figures as Holy Cross got going offensively in the fourth quarter to defeat Brunswick Academy in the first round of the VISAA Division III tournament.
The Gaels (17-9), the No. 6 seed in the tournament, scored 20 fourth-quarter points after struggling from the field through the opening 24 minutes.
Holy Cross travels to face No. 3 seed Richmond Christian at 6 p.m. today in the quarterfinal round.
Sarah Barnhart scored 11 points and Tori Knight added 10 for Holy Cross.
Alyssa Rivas led all scorers with 15 points and Paige Jennings added 12 for the Vikings (16-12).