COURTLAND — It was over. Brunswick’s Jadan Firman’s bucket with 1:47 left in the game extended the Bulldogs advantage to an insurmountable 9-point margin, 62-53 — or so it seemed.
One hundred and seven seconds later, it was Greensville County hoisting the Tri-Rivers District Tournament Championship trophy with a 65-62 victory.
“Coach (Antwan Walton) kept our heads in it,” Zavion Franklin said. “We fought hard and got it together. This feels good.”
T.J. Walton triggered the 12-0 blitz to end the game with a basket with 1:23 left on the clock. His brother, A.J. Walton, drew a foul shortly after T.J. let his shot fly. A.J. converted one free throw to slice the margin to 62-56.
Moments later, Greensville forced a turnover. Franklin cut the margin in half by burying a 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining to bring the Eagles within 3 points, 62-59.
Just as the clock moved to less than a minute left in the game, A.J. Walton scored to bring his squad within a point, 62-61. Sixteen seconds later, another Walton pushed the green and gold over the top. A Brunswick turnover led to a breakaway go-ahead layup for Xzavion Walton with 42 seconds remaining.
Xzavion’s bucket proved to be the game-winner. It capped an 8-point fourth quarter for the freshman. The transition from middle school champion to varsity champion was quite an adjustment.
“At the beginning of this year, I played kind of nervous,” he said. “As the season went on, I adjusted and gained confidence.”
Even when the Eagles appeared to be out of the game Saturday, Xzavion never quit.
“I decided to keep my head in the game regardless of the score,” he said. “I concentrated on every possession, trusted my shot and trusted my teammates.”
Brunswick had two more opportunities to catch Greensville. Still, the Eagle defense didn’t allow the Bulldogs to get a good look at the basket. Zykeem Fields buried a pair of free throws for Greensville to put the finishing touches on the tournament and regular season Tri-Rivers District championship.
It appeared Brunswick was well on its way to victory Saturday. After falling behind 8-4, following a T.J. Walton bucket with 5:39 left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs defense clipped the wings of the Eagles. Greensville did not score again until A.J. Walton put the ball through the cylinder with 7:20 left in the second quarter. The basket ended an 11-0 Brunswick run. The Bulldogs extended their advantage by as many as 13 points. At halftime Brunswick led 34-23.
The teams traded baskets in the third quarter. The Bulldogs led by a dozen, 48-36, heading into the final frame. The lead held for the most part. Then, it was 83 seconds of chaos.
Five Eagles netted double-figures in scoring, led by A.J. Walton’s 14 points. Fields (13), Franklin (10), T.J. Walton (10) and Daniel Alford (10) were the others.
Brunswick’s Jermonta James topped all scorers with 17 points. Reginald Walker scored 13 points.
Saturday’s victory pushed the Greensville County (21-4) winning streak to 13 games. Brunswick County (17-8) finished as the Tri-Rivers District regular season and tournament runner-up.
Greensville County’s defensive effort smothered Southampton in the second half as the Eagles rolled to a 59-42 Tri-Rivers District Tournament semifinal victory Thursday in Emporia.
The visiting Indians hit the floor, ready to play. Ah’launtae Outlaw tickled the twine for 15 first-half points. Outlaw’s efforts had his team in front 13-10 after the first quarter, and trailing only by a deuce, 27-25 at the halftime break.
Southampton (14-10) stayed within striking distance until the fourth quarter when Fields exploded for 14 points to lead the Eagles to a 17-point win.
Fields scored 21 points. Joining Fields in double-figure point production were Xzavion Walton and Alford, with 10 points each. Outlaw netted a game-high 25.