The James River boys basketball team was getting ready to take their fourth shot at Radford as the paper went to press this week, and they were hoping the fourth time would be the charm.
River was set to compete in the quarterfinal round of the Class 2, Region C tournament against the Bobcats on Tuesday in Radford. The Knights came up short the first three times they played undefeated Radford, twice in the regular season and once in the Three Rivers District tournament. River coach Mike Goad felt like his team was capable if they put it all together for one night.
“Every time we played them we had one bad quarter,” said Goad. “We have to be more consistent. The last time we played them we were within six with two minutes to go, so it’s not like we don’t have a chance. We play good enough defense to keep us in the game.”
The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to the region semifinal round on Friday against the winner of a game between Appomattox and Glenvar. If River was able to pull the upset over Radford, the Knights would go on the road for that game as well. The championship is Saturday at the Radford University Dedmon Center at 8 p.m., and both finalists go to the eight-team state Class 2 tournament next week.
“I wish we’d play all the region games at neutral sites,” said Goad. “When you get to the regional you don’t want to give someone a home advantage.”
The Knights had the home advantage to open the regional last Friday night as they played host to Fort Chiswell. River took a 73-55 win as senior Darious Cheatwood came within one point of the school record, scoring 43 points. Maurice Davenport retains the school record at 44.
Cheatwood was 14-for-21 on two-point field goal attempts and five-for-eight on three point attempts. Strangely enough, he did not shoot a free throw in the entire game. There were only 11 free throws taken in the entire game, as the Knights were five-for-five and the Pioneers were one-for-six.
“I thought it was a well-officiated game,” said Goad.
River hit 10 threes for the game, five by Cheatwood and five by freshman Walker Andrews, who was next high scorer with 21 points.
The win gave the Knights a 15-9 overall record heading into Tuesday’s game at Radford.