The Blue Ridge District basketball tournament will open at the sites of the third and fourth seeds on Friday and Lord Botetourt is expected to get a home game. The Cavaliers are third in the district standings with less than a week to play.
The top two teams will get first round byes, and Northside has a spot locked up with an 8-1 record and one game to go, against William Byrd Tuesday. William Fleming was second at 6-2 with two games left, both against Staunton River, and the Colonels would have to lose both for LB to tie for second, an unlikely scenario.
The Cavaliers were home to Franklin County on Tuesday for their last regular season game. The Eagles come into the week at 1-8 in the district, and they’ll most likely be coming back to Daleville Friday to open district play with fifth seeded Staunton River headed to William Byrd for the other game. Semifinals are Monday and the championship is Wednesday, February 14, all at the sites of the higher seeds.
LB is looking to gain some momentum this week after dropping three games last week to fall to 10-11 overall. On January 30 the Cavs lost to Fleming in Roanoke, 80-72. The Colonels led by just two points after three periods.
“This was a great game to be a part of,” said LB coach Andrew Hart. “Both teams played hard and made many plays. Fleming played really well, making some key shots throughout the game. Our guys stepped up and had one of our best games of the season, it just wasn’t quite enough to beat them on the road.”
Brayden Wells led LB with 27 points on 11 for 19 shooting and Conner Dowdy hit seven of 10 shots for 17 points. Carson Edwards had eight rebounds.
On Friday night at Northside the Cavaliers took on the district leaders and dropped an 82-58 decision. The Vikings came out hot, taking a 25-10 lead after the first quarter.
“Northside came out with great energy from the very beginning and they were pretty much at their best,” said Hart. “It was a big challenge for us but, as always, we will learn from this disappointment and get better after this game.”
Blake Lovern led LB with 17 points while Edwards had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cavaliers had little time to rest, playing Auburn just 15 hours later in the Adam Ward Classic at Salem High. This one went down to the final shot as Auburn pulled out a 65-63 win. Botetourt led 49-44 heading into the fourth quarter before running out of gas.
“It was great to again be a part of the Adam Ward Classic,” said Hart. “This is a very well-run event for an awesome cause. We came up short in the fourth quarter against a really good Auburn team.”
Botetourt had four players in double figures, led by Dowdy with 19. Edwards had 14, Landon Hayes had 11 and Wells had 10 points. Edwards had 10 rebounds and took three charges.
“We didn’t capitalize on some opportunities and didn’t quite make the winning plays on offense and defense that we needed in order to pull out the win,” said Hart. “You can’t get better at those situations unless you are in them, so hopefully we will be better in ‘crunch-time’ when needed during our future games. We are ready to finish the regular season this week and send our seniors off with a win.”