Prince William News
Fri., Mar. 1 - bobcat-boys-lose-in-state-quarterfinals
Bobcat boys lose in state quarterfinals
© Gainesville Times*Updated at 2:15 p.m. on March 4, 2013*
When Battlefield lost to W.T. Woodson by a 65 to 52 margin during the Group AAA state boys basketball quarterfinals on Friday night in Fairfax at Robinson Secondary School, the Bobcats didn't just face a lethally efficient 3-point shooting squad.
Sure, the seven triples hit by the Cavaliers actually made the difference in the game, including back-to-back shots in the fourth quarter from Peter Murray and Stephen Muldoon after Battlefield closed a 15-point gap from the third quarter to three points in the final period.
In the end, the Bobcats never recovered from those deflating moments that came during the first minute-and-a-half of the fourth quarter.
They came within five points but were forced to foul as the game clock wound down, which exacerbated the final score.
But the "sixth man" provided by Woodson?
The thunder from the Cavaliers' student section put into a high school setting what basketball fans would normally expect at a home game for Duke University against the University of North Carolina.
It's an experience unlike any home basketball game for any team in Prince William County.
For starters, Robinson is less than 3.5 miles from Woodson.
Battlefield is 24 miles away to the west in Haymarket.
Robinson is also unlike Battlefield's home court in that it has four sets of stands instead of two for the fans.
The stands behind the baskets go back 23 rows each.
Between the yellow dashes marking the beginning of the seats from the stairs, it's about 55 feet -- give or take -- from one end to another.
Multiple those two numbers and you get 1,265 feet of possible space that could be filled.
Woodson's faithful whited that space out.
Compare that to the maybe eight rows or so that made up the black-and-purple-clad Battlefield student section... in the middle aisle only.
"We can't hear you!" taunted the Woodson army at one point to their counterparts across the arena after the Battlefield fans tried to get a supportive chant going.
Showing up with T-shirts of the same color wasn't enough though for the Cavalier fans.
When they jumped, the stands bounced and bent.
During pre-game festivities, they chanted as one massive, well-rehearsed chorus under the instruction of one conductor up front.
"It's awesome," said a genuinely awestruck junior forward Andy Stynchula, who finished the night with seven points for the Cavaliers. "The feeling when you come out of the tunnel and look at the crowd, it's indescribable."
Even though Battlefield would be loath to admit it, there's little question that the Woodson fans had some impact on the game itself.
When the Battlefield offense attacked the basket half of the court during the first half, they played facing the Cavaliers' student section.
The Bobcats scored five points during the first quarter, unable to score during the last 5:35 of the period after relinquishing a 5 to 3 lead.
Woodson scored 12.
By halftime, the Cavaliers carried a 26 to 14 advantage.
Battlefield came back in the second half for several reasons, two of which go beyond just fundamentals.
One is the want and drive of junior Jamison Glover, who earned 17 points on Friday night.
"I like to get to the basket," he said, explaining his desire to generate contact inside the post.
After Murray opened the second half with a one-handed shot at the the hoop, Glover collected a steal while sliding on the floor and returned to muscle the ball off the glass for a quick two points.
Moments later, he responded to a 3-pointer by Woodson senior Alex Boock by crashing the floor for another bucket, though Glover missed the ensuing free throw.
Defensively, Glover then grabbed a rebound from a missed Woodson shot and teammate Roman Hall finished off the transition with a bucket on the other end, bringing the game to within a single-digit margin at 31 to 22.
"(We) didn't really rebound well in the third quarter," said Stynchula.
A deep deuce by Hall then cut the score even more and Glover's delay pump action shot brought the game to a six-point difference.
By the time Hall stripped out a steal and Kam Hedgepeth converted on a fast-break with 1:28 to go in the third quarter, Woodson had to take a timeout to stem the bleeding as Battlefield pulled within four points.
It made for a remarkable turnaround in a hostile environment, but that's also where Battlefield's entire playoff experience benefited the team.
"I told 'em, he (Glover) kept us in but we had to settle," said Battlefield head coach Kurt Pauly.
Through the regional playoffs, Battlefield played on the road, facing tough competition like in Danville, where the entire arena consisted of George Washington fans.
Yet Battlefield pulled out a stunning 95 to 89 upset when the players only had only themselves and their coaches in their corner.
So while the Woodson crowd roar left an initial impact, Battlefield had been through it before and regained its bearings by the second half.
"I don't think we were rattled by the crowd," said Glover, adding that the GW game "was definitely the biggest crowd" he's faced on the road.
"They had a lot of people, but Danvville, it was floor to ceiling."
While Glover sank a pair of 3-pointers, his classmate Trevor Blondin actually led all scorers with 18 points, hitting a couple triples himself along with five other field goals.
Hall (6 points), Hedgepath (3 points) and teammates Terrell Walker (6 points) and Alex Pfost (2 points) all contributed offensively too for Battlefield.
It's just that Woodson doubled Battlefield with four players in double digits: Murray (15 points), Boock (13 point), Eric Bowels (13 points) and Tommy Stepka (12 points).
"They have a lot of good shooters," said Glover.
Size made up a key difference too.
"Our game plan was just to get the ball inside because they're a small team," said the 6-foor-4 Stynchula.
When asked about their perimeter game, Stynchula replied, "It's hard to guard, simply."