For the better part of three quarters, Greensville appeared to be in control of Wednesday’s contest against Brunswick.
Then the dry spell hit, followed by the bizarre. The Eagles went nearly seven minutes without scoring in the fourth quarter.
By the time Greensville ended the drought with two successful Zykeem Fields' free throws, Brunswick had turned a 48-40 deficit into a 52-48 advantage.
The junior followed with a driving layup and another free throw to put the Eagles in front 53-52 with 23 seconds remaining. Brunswick answered with a Jermonta James free throw to knot the game 53-53.
Brunswick moved in front 55-53 with a Quentin Singleton basket with nine seconds remaining. Fields drew a foul with four seconds left and drained both free throws to send the contest to overtime.
Brunswick’s Reginald Walker opened the overtime session draining his fifth 3-pointer of the night to put his team in front for good. With 1:44 left on the clock, the bizarre happened. By the time the final seconds trickled off the clock, the stands were nearly empty.
A spectator began the bizarre by taunting Greensville fans near the scorers’ table. When asked to move by a Greensville County Sheriff’s Office deputy, the spectator refused and pushed the law enforcement officer. The spectator was cuffed and taken out of the gym.
Moments later, another ruckus in the stands ended a night of watching basketball for a sellout crowd. As a safety precaution, fans were forced to leave the gym before the game resumed. The delay lasted more than an hour.
“It’s hard to ask the kids to bounce back after sitting for more than an hour,” Greensville coach Antwan Walton said. “The good thing is the players had nothing to do with the commotion.”
Brunswick’s Jadan Firman scored 7 points in the extra session to lead his team to a 69-64 win. The senior was key in the Bulldogs come from behind victory.
Firman only scored 5 points from the field, but his drives to the basket put him on the free-throw line where he went 13-22. More importantly, three Eagles, Daniel Alford, A.J.Walton, and Zavion Franklin, fouled out of the game.
Greensville (22-5) moved in front 13-11 with a Fields basket with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. It held the advantage until a Walker 3-pointer with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter put Brunswick in front 50-48.
The Bulldogs stayed within striking distance. In fact, the largest lead for the Eagles was eight points, 48-40, following a Fields basket with 7:49 remaining in the fourth quarter. The drought began, and Brunswick (20-8) scored the next 12 points.
“It was one of those quarters we were having early on this year,” Greensville coach Antwan Walton said. “It was bound to happen. I just didn’t want it to happen this game. Congratulations to Brunswick. I wish them the best. We’ll just have to regroup, reload and be ready for next year at this time.”
Fields led Greensville with 19 points. Eagles joining Fields in double-figures scoring were T.J. Walton, 15 points, and Daniel Alford, 10 points.
Brunswick’s Walker equaled Fields with a game-high 19 points. Firman netted 18. James scored 11 points.
With Wednesday’s win Brunswick (20-8) advances to Friday’s 2A Region A finals to face top-seeded John Marshall, a 91-57 winner over Thomas Jefferson.
For Greensville, it will be an off-season of what could have been. But, 2019-20 was a season of accomplishment, including the Tri-Rivers regular season and tournament championships.
“It’s always tough to lose in the playoffs,” coach Walton said. “But I told the guys we had a great year. We had a run of 14-straight wins and went 22-5.”