There’s nothing spectacular about the way Richmond’s Mills Godwin plays basketball. The Eagles are just a good team that can hurt you from inside and outside, play solid defense and hit free throws when it matters most. All that was on display as Godwin took home the title of the Lake Braddock Glory Days Tournament with a 60-51 victory over Hayfield on Wednesday night.
“I can’t be prouder of them,” Godwin coach Hunter Thomas said of his players. “They bought into our system of playing tough defense and we put in our match-up zone and did a tremendous job of making teams like that [Hayfield] slow down, frustrating them. The teams up here just seem to play at a different speed and they don’t like the way we play, which helps us tremendously.”
The Eagles (9-1) did indeed play great defense on three fairly offensively potent Northern Virginia teams, all mentioned in our “Nova Nineteen” rankings this week. First Godwin held Osbourn to 47 points. Then, it held John Champe to 48 points, almost 40 below its average coming into the tournament. Finally Wednesday night the Eagles held Hayfield (7-3) to 51 points a day after the Hawks put up 100 on host Lake Braddock, thanks in part to the aforementioned match-up zone.
The two teams seemed fairly evenly matched throughout the contest. The turning point of the game might have occurred when Hayfield leading scorer Langston Gaither thought he had stolen the ball cleanly from a Godwin player with a minute left in the third quarter, but instead was whistled for his fourth foul. Still, Hayfield only trailed by three with 4:20 left when Gaither returned, after DeMonte Richardson found Hawks guard Luke Jones for a three.
It wasn’t to be, however. A minute later, the Hawks thought they had another steal but instead were called for a foul plus a technical after the play. Godwin, adept at holding the ball and closing out games from the free throw line, suddenly led 48-41 late. It was essentially a done deal at that point.
Dillon Thomas led the way for the Eagles with 16 points. Though Thomas was mostly quiet in the first half, his two threes in the second half and free throws late were huge. He was named the Tourney MVP. Fellow All-Tournament selection Timothy Fisher added nine points and seven rebounds and Kyle Pendleton 10 points for the visitors from Richmond.
Gaither led the way with 20 points for Hayfield. That came on 5-18 shooting from the field, though, as he struggled to get good looks against the disciplined Eagles defense. Fellow Hayfield senior Carrington Brox added 12 points.
“Overall it was a good tournament with some great individual performances,” Hayfield coach Carlos Poindexter said after the game. “I feel like we learned a lot about ourselves and we’re ready for conference play. We are going to focus on our zone offense and prepare for Langley and Fairfax next week.”
box score is unofficial
|Threes: Thomas 2-4, Wiley 0-2, McDonough 0-1|
|Threes: Gaither 4-11, Cureton 1-1, Brox 1-2, Jones 1-3, Cobbs 0-4, Joiner 0-2, Richardson 0-1|