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Sports · December 27, 2013

Basketball wrap: Cougars edge Falcons late, 52-50

I knew I was making both.
— Kettle Run senior center Eddie Benton on his game-winning free throws.
Winter Classic Schedule
*All games played at Fauquier H.S.

Girls consolation

Highland v. Fauquier, 1 p.m.

Boys consolation

Liberty v. Fauquier, 3 p.m.

Girls championship

Liberty v. Kettle Run, 5 p.m.

Boys championship

Highland v. Kettle Run
When Fauquier guard Jeremiah Blackwell’s desperation three-pointer swished, it appeared the Falcons’ comeback forced overtime.

With eight seconds left, Kettle Run inbounded and went the length of the floor. Senior center Eddie Benton caught a pass near the lane. He jumped for the layup.

Fauquier senior forward Jay Jay Roberts made a play on the ball. An official blew the whistle with one second left.

Benton made both free throws for a 52-50 Cougars win in the Fauquier County Winter Classic semifinal.

After his fifth foul, Roberts lay inconsolable next to his team’s bench.

“He brought the ball too low and I thought I could steal it,” Roberts said. “I got all ball, the ref saw it wrong.

“I don’t like losing to Kettle Run because it’s a rival. They were the better team today.”

Kettle Run’s 6-foot-4 big man felt differently.

“I got fouled on my arms,” Benton said. “I was bringing it low….he smacked both of them.”

The shot attempt came with Benton’s back to both teams’ benches. Neither coach saw the foul.

“I would say yes, but I was at a bad angle,” Cougars Coach Troy Washington said. “I’m not sure.”

Falcons Coach Wayne Brizzi’s refrain sounded similar.

“I guess we fouled him, I didn’t see it,” he said. “If it’s a foul, you gotta call it. If we had good body position, there’s no foul.”

The game’s ending seemed impossible during the final frame. Kettle Run held an 11-point lead with two minutes remaining at 50-39.

“I thought we really got careless with the ball,” Washington said.

A 20-point second quarter gave the Cougars a 32-23 lead at halftime. Both teams scored six points in the third frame.

The Falcons’ full-court press forced some steals which they turned into layups late in the game. The frenetic final two minutes quickly went back-and-forth down the court.

No matter how improbable a finish, it was fitting it came on a wild play that spanned the entire court.

Moments earlier, Kettle Run’s second-leading scorer Danny Mattson turned his ankle on a scramble that looked more suited for the gridiron.

Washington said the senior guard – who finished with 10 points – is day-to-day with a sprain.

The Cougars will face Highland on Saturday at Fauquier High at 7 p.m. for the tournament championship.

Benton finished with a team-high 16 points for the home team. He felt no nerves for the final shots.

“I knew I was making both,” he said.

The Falcons will face Liberty at 3 p.m. in the consolation game. Fauquier defeated the Eagles last Friday, 49-34.

“I think everyone’s upset….Anytime you play hard and lose, you’re upset,” Brizzi said. “It doesn’t matter in the standings but you want to win anytime you step on the court.”

Kettle Run 52, Fauquier, 50

1 2 3 4 Final

Fauquier (4-3)






Kettle Run (7-0)






Hawks crush Liberty for spot in championship

Highland’s boys basketball team’s 12-point halftime lead against Liberty shrunk to 33-25 less than a minute into the third quarter.

Then, the Hawks woke up and ran away from the Eagles in an 83-48 blowout semifinal win.

The private school scored 31 points in the third frame to double up the Eagles at 64-32.

“We got better looks,” Highland Coach Jake Shechtman said. “The question always is, can we pass on half-decent looks and get a great look?”

No Hawk had better looks at the rim than senior forward Matt Kelly. He made one post move after another against Liberty’s bigs.

When he got to the rim, he often scored. Or, he made a trip to the free throw line. Kelly finished with a game-high 20 points.

“He’s strong enough and confident enough where he can finish at the rim,” Shechtman said.

Eagles Coach Pat Frazer regretted his team’s effort at defending Kelly on the blocks.

“He gets the ball,” Frazer said. “You’ve got to get up and play post defense on him. That’s just execution.”

Liberty fell to 0-6 and will face Fauquier on its home gym Saturday at 3 p.m.

Highland 83, Liberty, 48

1 2 3 4 Final

Highland (5-3)






Liberty (0-6)






Cougars girls handle Lady Falcons, 49-31

Kettle Run’s girls advanced to the winter classic title game on Friday with a 49-31 win over Fauquier.

Junior forward Jasmine Webster led the Lady Cougars with 11 points. Senior Addison Foudray finished with 10.

Kettle Run opened with a 12-5 lead after the first quarter.

In the second frame, Coach Sarah Ventresco’s team blew the game open. The Lady Cougars outscored their county foe 14-5 and held a 26-10 lead at intermission.

“We had a good shot percentage,” Ventresco explained. “We shot 66-percent from three. When you’re losing, it’s hard to be confident.

“Once we got a nice little lead, shots started to fall.”

Kettle Run’s third-quarter defense responded in kind. Fauquier scored only three points in the frame.

The Lady Cougars held a 39-13 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Coach George Jolley’s Lady Falcons gave their best offensive showing in the final quarter.

Fauquier outscored the home team 18-10 in the fourth.

“They decided they wanted to play,” Jolley said of the outburst. “I was just glad to see that fourth quarter.”

Forward Sierra Kroencke led the Lady Falcons with 12 points. They will face Highland at home tomorrow for the tournament’s consolation game.

Kettle Run will play at 5 p.m. against Liberty in the title game at FHS.

“It feels pretty good to actually have something to fight for tomorrow,” Webster said.

The Lady Eagles won the first contest between the teams, 49-39 on Dec. 17.

Kettle Run 49, Fauquier, 31

1 2 3 4 Final

Fauquier (0-7)






Kettle Run (2-5)






Lady Eagles' strong 4th quarter clinches spot in title

After three quarters, Liberty and Highland’s girls basketball teams were deadlocked at 25-25.

Senior guard Kaila Blackwell proved to be the difference. She scored each of her eight points in the final quarter to fuel a 37-29 win.

“She did a great job and was very confident,” Lady Eagles Coach Ashton Girolmo said. “She was understood to play strong with the ball and was very poised today.”

Blackwell’s defense helped slow the Lady Hawks’ offense – which missed senior forward Jessica Crew.

Crew missed the game due to a vacation.

“Lack of leadership hurt us….that’s eight points and eight rebounds right there but that’s no excuse,” Highland Coach Gary Leake said of Crew’s absence. “We missed her scoring output.”

Senior center Kiana Smith continued her strong season for Liberty with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Her tall frame helped created second chances for the Lady Eagles’ offense, which shot only 32.6-percent from the field.

“Oh, it’s great,” Blackwell said of Smith’s presence. “She is somebody we look for….the rest of the team is clearly smaller than her and she’s there to get our rebounds.”

Liberty will face Kettle Run in the championship on Saturday at Fauquier High at 5 p.m. Highland plays the day’s opener at the gym at 1 p.m. against the Falcons.

Blackwell knows her team will need to play an entire game like Friday’s fourth quarter.

“We picked up our intensity and started hustling more,” Blackwell said. “We started talking more on defense, that’s for sure.”

Liberty 37, Highland, 29

1 2 3 4 Final

Highland (4-4)






Liberty (4-3)






>>>>> Click here for additional photos.

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