Green Run head coach Kenneth Davis (Video Still: Antowyne Shaw/recruit757)
Ashley James banks a half-court heave to send Green Run to states
by Antowyne Shaw, recruit757
Saturday’s Region 5A semifinal between Green Run and Nansemond River couldn’t have been any more thrilling.
Jamal Boone of Nansemond River hit two clutch free throws with 3.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 63 points each.
Green Run inbounded the ball from the baseline. Ashley James took the pass, dribbled twice, crossed half court and threw up a prayer that bounced off the glass and through the hoop as the buzzer sounded. The court was mobbed with elated players, coaches and Green Run fans.
“Tonight’s game was crazy. We had ’em for a little bit, but we knew it was going to be a fight,” said James, who finished with 30 points, three rebounds, three steals and four assists. “This could have been my last game. I had to keep my composure and tell my team we got this. We’ve been practicing and working hard for this since the beginning.
On paper, the 20-3 Green Run Stallions should have beat 17-6 Nansemond River Warriors easily, but that’s why they play the game. Green Run head coach Kenneth Harris was proud of his guys after the win. He expected his team to be challenged.
“Nansemond River likes to run, just like we do. At the end, their main guy and our main guy were going at it so it was good,” said the coach.
The gut check win puts Green Run into the state tournament for the first time since 1984. No. 1 seeded Green Run (21-3) will play No. 2 seeded Maury (21-3) for the Region 5A Championship on Tuesday night at 8:00 at the Norfolk Scope. Maury advanced with a narrow win over cross-town rival Norview by a score of 52-50 as Clarence Rupert hit two free throws with two seconds left and the Commodores held on for the win.
– Antowyne Shaw