The Louisa Lions boys’ basketball team came up one win short of claiming its first state championship win, ending their highly successful 2018-19 season as the Virginia High School League Class 4 state runner-up.
The Lions lost to George Washington High School of Danville 55-44 at Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy’s Siegel Center in Richmond.
“[It was] a tough one, but I’m proud of my kids,” Lions coach Robert Shelton said. “I think we fought a good battle. We ran up against a team that was pretty talented.”
The Eagles came out swinging, jumping to a 7-0 lead over the game’s opening 90 seconds. Buckets from juniors Jarett and Xavien Hunter helped Louisa find their offensive footing as they pulled the score to 10-7 with 3:23 left on the clock.
Both teams stuggled to get shots to fall over the remainder of the quarter. A late three-point bucket from senior Chris Shelton got Louisa within two points, trailing 12-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions kept the score close during the first four minutes of the second quarter, but the Eagles burst ahead over the final minutes of the half with a 10-4 run to lead 27-20 going into the halftime break.
Shooting proved to be a problem for Louisa throughout the first half, as they sank only 27 percent of their shots from the field and were one-for-eight from three-point range.
“They’re long, so finishing against them was hard because they’re all 6-foot-3 at every spot but one,” Robert Shelton said. “We didn’t get a lot of clean looks inside and that’s a testament to their defense, and even when we did get some clean looks we rushed.”
The Lions came out of the break with renewed energy, bursting ahead with a 12-4 run to take a 32-31 lead, their first of the night. Chris Shelton scored seven of those points, including the bucket that put them on top.
(Article by Joseph Haney)
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s March 14, 2019 issue.
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