Greensville County’s Zykeem Fields picked up a loose ball near mid-court. He broke away for an uncontested layup to put the Eagles in front 60-59 with 36 seconds left in Friday’s first-place showdown with Brunswick. It proved to be the game-winner as Greensville (14-4, 12-1) took a giant step toward the Tri-Rivers District championship with a 62-59 victory in Emporia.
The Eagles were in front most of the way since early in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs fought back and moved in front 59-58 following a Jermonta James’ 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining. It was Brunswick’s first lead since it led 52-50 midway through the fourth quarter. Greensville regained the advantage for good with Fields’ late steal. It was the culmination of a defensive effort that proved to be the difference.
“We tried to mix it up and confuse them a little bit,” Greensville coach Antwan Walton said. “I thought we did a good job with that. When we come out and play defense, we are a different team. Our guys were ready to go tonight.”
How good was Greensville’s defense? Brunswick’s leading scorer Jadan Firman was held to a season-low 3 points. Daniel Alford blocked four shots, and T.J. Walton rejected two Brunswick field goal attempts.
T.J. Walton wreaked more havoc on the other side of the floor. The freshman scored 20 points and snagged 10 rebounds. T.J. admitted he was nervous when Brunswick (12-5, 10-2) cruised past Greensville 63-50 on Dec. 13 in Lawrenceville. He came into Friday’s game with a different mindset.
“I put that first game behind me and concentrated on playing basketball tonight,” T.J. said. “This was a great team win. They had a box and one on Chuck (Fields), so I went to the middle and went to the basket strong.”
The box and one seemed to impact Fields offensively at times, but the junior produced when needed. He scored 20 points, including the last 4 Greensville points the game. The southpaw knocked down a pair of free throws with 10.4 seconds left in the game to provide the final margin.
Brunswick point guard Reginald Walker opened the contest with a 3-pointer for the first points the night. It was a harbinger of things to come. Walker scored a team-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers.
Traivon Callis, 13 points, and James, 12 points gave the Eagles fits throughout the night. Callis, a 6-7 junior, hurt the green and gold under the basket. When he was not scoring, he was drawing personal fouls and heading to the charity stripe. Callis finished 5-10 at the foul line. Alford provided inside points for Greensville County. The sophomore scored 11 points to give the Eagles three players scoring in double-digits.
Greensville erased a 13-12 first-quarter deficit, outscoring Brunswick 23-15 in the second quarter to take a 35-28 lead into the halftime locker room. Walker buried a pair of 3-pointers and scored 7 third-quarter points to trim Greensville’s advantage to 42-40 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Twice Brunswick took the lead in the fourth quarter. Twice Greensville regained the advantage. The final lead change put the Eagles in the driver’s seat in the Tri-Rivers District title chase.