The young Greensville County Eagles trotted out a junior, three sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup Wednesday in Emporia to face league-leading Surry, which countered with four seniors and a freshman to start the game. The Cougars rode their experience advantage to clinch the Tri-Rivers District regular season championship with a 58-48 victory.
Surry (18-2, 14-0) trailed 6-0 before Brandon Drew scored on an ally up pass from Monte Pope with 4:47 left in the first quarter. Slowly but surely the visitors chipped away at the Greensville (13-5, 10-3) advantage, grabbing a momentary second-quarter lead, 19-17, with 3:02 left in the first half following a Tramaz Tynes basket. A 4-0 Eagle run was broken by a Xavier Brown basket to leave the teams knotted at 21 heading into the halftime locker room.
Greensville took the lead with a Zykeem Fields free throw early in the third quarter. The sophomore lefty later ended a 4-0 Surry spurt to tie the game at 25-25 with 5:53 left in the third quarter, but the Cougars took the lead for good moments later on a Drew basket, which triggered a 16-6 run. Greensville’s Jalin Joyner tickled the twine from the right corner as time expired to end the third quarter to trim the Surry advantage to 41-34.
The Cougars opened the final frame with baskets from Pope and Drew to push the advantage back to double-digits, 45-34. Greensville never closed the gap to fewer than eight points the rest of the way. Eagle senior Jahlil Fields did his part to keep the green and gold within striking distance with eight points in the final frame, but Zhammere’ Slade put the exclamation point on the Surry County regular season crown-clinching win with a two-handed dunk to close out the scoring.
Pope set the pace for the Cougar offense with 19 points. Slade finished with 13 points. Jahlil Fields matched Pope with 19 points to lead the Eagles.