Brookville rallies in second half to win Seminole boys title
Lynchburg News & Advance
Friday, February 22, 2008

FOREST - The Brookville boys' basketball team has trailed by big margins before, even as late in the third quarter as it did in Friday night's Seminole District tournament championship.

So the Bees had faith that if they tightened up defensively, even Liberty's sizeable lead wouldn't be insurmountable.

They were right.

The Bees rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final nine minutes, pulling out a 53-51 thriller against the Minutemen to complete their undefeated Seminole District run.

"This team really has a lot of resilience," Brookville coach Chris Young said. "They fight back. They keep their composure. They're good players."

Logan Thomas, the district player of the year, had 24 points, 10 rebounds and four steals for Brookville (19-4) and George Williams scored 14, including a pair of free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining that broke a 51-51 tie.

Boo Payne scored 19 to lead Liberty (15-10), which hosts Stuarts Draft at 7 p.m. Monday in the first round of the Region III tournament.

The Bees host the Region III quarterfinals Tuesday at 8 p.m. against the winner of Waynesboro and Turner Ashby.

Payne had a chance to put the Minutemen ahead with 13 seconds left with a pair of free throws but only hit the first to tie the game at 51.

Brookville grabbed the rebound after the second and pushed the ball. Williams drove hard to the lane and spun toward the hoop, drawing a foul with 4.5 seconds left.

"It's definitely my bail-out move," he said.

As the noise filled the Jefferson Forest gym, he calmly sank both free throws to put the Bees up two.

Liberty's Martrey Stevens heaved a desperation 3 from several feet in front of halfcourt at the buzzer, but he was off the mark and Brookville escaped with the win.

"I'm just really excited to be a part of this team," Thomas said. "It's just a burning feeling inside your chest that you can't explain."

The Minutemen hit five first-half 3-pointers to build a seven-point lead, which would grow to 12 with under a minute left in the third quarter after a Kordero Thompson stickback.

"We were like, 'Oh crap. We've got to step it up real bad, play some great defense, get rebounds and make shots,'" Thomas said. "And everybody responded that way."

Thomas started it with a five-point burst before the end of the third, getting a layup, a steal and a three-point play that pulled the Bees within seven heading into the fourth.

They continued to creep closer because of their defense. Liberty began to work the clock, meticulously passing the ball around the perimeter. But they were unable to get any good shots against the Bees' aggressive man-to-man.

Thomas switched to cover Payne, who had just one basket and five points after halftime. Brookville also stuck Kyle Renfro on Liberty's star guard, Chris Harmon, who scored 28 points in a semifinal win against Rustburg.

He finished with seven Friday on 3 of 12 shooting.

Liberty made just one field goal in the fourth quarter as Brookville chipped away at the lead, finally going ahead 49-48 on a spinning bank shot by John Deacon with 2:13 to play.