By Marty Gordon
The Radford High School boys’ basketball team came into Tuesday’s state semi-finals with a 55-1 record in the past two years. The team’s lone loss came last year to Tuesday’s opponent Gate City.
The 28-0 Bobcats tasted a little revenge with a 79-65 win, but Coach Rick Cormany admitted it didn’t come without some grit Tuesday night at Pulaski County High School.
“We remember how they beat us last year, especially on the boards. So, that became a point of emphasis in the off-season. They beat us on the glass last year,” he said.
That was reversed this contest as Radford outrebounded Gate City 39 to 30 on the boards, with 29 being on the offensive side of the floor.
“I was really proud of our guys on the glass,” Cormany said.
Team leading scorer Quinton Morton-Robertson was sluggish for the first part the game, finding the bottom of the net tough to find. The Radford University-signee then took over in the second half including being “Mr. Clutch” at the charity stripe, hitting 19 of 20 and finished with 42 points including five 3-pointers.
“Quinton was great down the stretch especially at the free throw line,” Cormany said.
Gate City Zac Ervin almost took the game over all by himself, scoring 35 points for the game. The 6-5 senior is a Wofford University signee and will play for Radford High School alum Mike Young.
“He (Young) is getting an unbelievable player. Ervin is going to be a good one. I take my hat off to him and his teammates,” Cormany said.
Morton-Robertson matched Ervin down the stretch. Ervin scored 20 in the third quarter and the Bobcat leader pumped in 21.
But it might have been the play of Senior Miles Jones that made a difference for Radford. The team took the ball inside, and Jones scored 11 in the first half to keep the visitors at bay.
Jones finished with 13 points. But the key might have been the play of Jon Woods on the boards, who pulled down 11 when Radford desperately needed them. Cam Cormany added 14 points in the win.
Radford now moves to 29-0 this season and moves on to face East Rockingham (26-4) after beating Goochland 71-52 in semi-final action.
The Eagles were led in scoring by senior forward Dalton Jefferson who poured in a game-high 21 points. Freshman forward Tyler Nickel and junior guard Tyce McNair added 17 points each.
East Rockingham, who is in their first trip to the state championship game, has seven players over 6-3 and two 6-6’ers in Dalton Jefferson and Tyler Nickel who scored 43 points in one game this season.
Radford has won state titles in 1949, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017.
Morton-Robertson told reporters after the Gate City win that kids in the stands dream about an opportunity to play for a championship. Now he and his teammates have that chance.
“Everyone looks forward to a state championship. We’re just proud to be here,” he said.
Those who are not able to attend the 6 p.m. contest tonight in Richmond can catch it on Bobcats Live. Go to the Radford High School athletics Facebook page and look for the link. Click and enjoy.