Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That has to be the feeling for the Henrico Warriors as they depart the Siegel Center tonight, 81-52 victims of the precision of the Benedictine Cadets in the 2013 TDIT Boys Tournament Championship. It's the fourth straight year that the Warriors have made the TDIT Finals only to fall short.
The Warriors had shooting troubles from the opening tip, missing two early inside shots to set the tone. Benedictine turned on the motor in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 27-13 to seize a 42-23 halftime advantage. Reid Jacoby had 13 first half points for the Cadets, who played the second quarter without eventual Tournament MVP, and Indiana University commit, Robert Johnson, who was on the bench with two early fouls.
Johnson would get into the offensive act in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 21 points as Benedictine stretched the lead to 27 and never looked back.
Henrico lost for the first time since falling 74-72 to Armstrong all the way back on January 3rd, nearly a calendar year ago. Tony Daniels added 11 to Monte Buckingham's game-leading 18 points, the only Warriors in double figures.
This game, in the end, may benefit the Warriors more than most realize, helping them understand their weaknesses better as the calendar turns to 2014. After their 6-0 start, many had to be reminded this team lost 7 of its top 9 scorers from the Group AAA State Championship team to graduation.
The Warriors will host the Henrico Holiday Hoops Tournament beginning Thursday with the opening first round game against former Capital District rival Atlee. Looming on the other side of the bracket is a favorite statewide in the 5A Classification, Potomac.
Henrico may have one more showdown with a top-flight team in 2013, and hope they will perform better in that test than they did tonight. But first things first, quarterfinals Thursday, and with a win, semifinals Saturday against either Hermitage or Midlothian.