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Louisa hoopsters double up on home wins

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Mahlik Munnerlyn drives around a North Stafford defender during Louisa’s home game against the Wolverines on Jan. 30.

As the end of their regular season approaches, the Louisa Lions boys’ basketball team stepped into unfamiliar territory with a home game against the North Stafford Wolverines on Jan. 30.

The two teams battled in the opening minutes of the game, exchanging leads several times. A bucket from junior Jarett Hunter just inside the four-minute mark kick-started a 13-5 Louisa run, giving the Lions a 20-13 halftime lead. Hunter put up five points on the run, while senior Chris Shelton added seven.

Louisa kept their momentum going in the second quarter, outscoring the Wolverines 17-9. A pair of last minute three-point buckets from junior Xavien Hunter helped boost the Lions to their comfortable 37-22 halftime lead.

The Wolverines came out of the break with newfound energy, putting up 20 points in the third quarter. The Lions didn’t let up, though, scoring 21, including a buzzer-beating three-point basket from Shelton.

“I think all that came from the intensity on defense,” Shelton said. “We started off going in, attacking and being aggressive, and once we did that (they) started crashing in and things opened up for our shooters on the wings.”

The Lions kept well ahead of the Wolverines in the final quarter to seal the win at 78-63.

“The guys talked tonight, had the energy on defense, and the two 3’s by Xavien at the end of half that was just crucial,” Lions’ coach Robert Shelton said. “That’s the difference between going up by 15 at the half or just being up by nine. Those were tough shots and we needed them in that moment.

“The guys shared the ball in the second half really well, executed on offense,” he continued. “Maybe we left a few baskets out there, but that’s against a big athletic team with some Division I players that should springboard us as we go deeper into the season.”

Shelton led the Lions’ scoring with 21 points while Hunter added 18. Senior Shylek Washington also tallied double-digit points, scoring 10.

Senior Night win

The Lions returned to The Den on Feb.1 for their Senior Night game against the Fluvanna Flucos. Making sure to send the seniors out on a high note, Louisa dominated the game, defeating the Flucos 100-71.

The Lions opened the game with a 26-21 first quarter, then extended their lead in the second with a 23-19 run to take a 49-40 halftime lead. They kept the pressure up throughout the second half, working their way to a triple-digit score.

“We had basketball going on here all afternoon, so for the  guys to remain calm and focused, I was proud of the way they came out and executed,” Coach Robert Shelton said.

A late bucket from senior Michael Weakley put the Lions over.

“The whole student section was yelling ‘Shoot it! Shoot it! Shoot it!’” the first-year varsity player said. “As soon as I took the shot, I thought it was going in, then they just went crazy. It was a great moment.”

The Lions returned to their early season strategy of fast-paced play and using the long shot to their advantage. Nearly half of their total points came from three-point range. Xavien Hunter sank five, followed by senior Reggie Cosby with four and Shelton with three.

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Feb. 7, 2019 issue.

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