A fast start and strong finish sends Kecoughtan to the Region 5A semis
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Kecoughtan jumped out to a fast start against Indian River and held off the Braves on Tuesday night.
Indian River sharpshooter Kahlil Oden kept his team in the game with a game leading 27 points, but it was balanced scoring from Kecoughtan that won the night.
DeJuan Campbell led Kecoughtan with 18 points while Jaylin Davis chipped in a 12-point performance. David Anderson and Vincent Cousins both contributed 10 points in the win.
“It’s been a six-year journey. This is my first time winning a regional game in six years. It’s good to get the monkey off my back, but I’m just excited for these kids,” said Kecoughtan head coach Willie Gause after the win. “We’re a young team. We only have two seniors. There are five freshmen (on this team) who play valuable minutes. Our leader, DeJaun Campbell, is still a sophomore. This is our first regional game as a group, but I like their fight.”
The Warriors certainly lived up to their name. Kecoughtan forced turnovers and ran out to a 16 point lead in the first half, and they held a 13-point lead at halftime. In the third quarter, that lead would get cut down to two points. After Indian River made their run, the young Warriors managed to stem the surge and steady themselves.
“In the Peninsula District, we played a lot of tough games this year. We played Menchville twice, Hampton, Bethel, Phoebus… so when you’re playing teams like that, you get prepared for this type of environment,” the coach said.
The win sets Kecoughtan up to play Norview on Friday night at 6 p.m. at the Norfolk Scope. That will be an even bigger environment than the high schools gyms they’ve been playing in all season.
“We played Norview earlier the season in the Howard White Classic. It was a battle and they made a little run at the end (of the game). I want to see our team just be us. Play within our system. Play within our scheme. Do what we do. Don’t get caught up in the big lights and the big stage. Live in the moment and just play Kecoughtan Basketball.”
After the Norview (21-2) vs. Kecoughtan (17-6) game at 6 p.m. Friday, Princess Anne (16-6) will tip off against Green Run (20-3). Princess Anne knocked off defending Class 5 state champion Maury on Wednesday night, while Green Run easily dispatched Kempsville.
The winners on Friday advance to the Region 5A Final and both earn an automatic berth into the VHSL Class 5 State Tournament.
– Andy Hilton