The stakes were high, the rivalries were deep and the outcomes were more than spectacular. In a classic private school rivalry, the Saints of St. Christopher’s took down the Cadets of Benedictine 68-62 to advance to the championship game of the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament. On the other side of the bracket, two undefeated Colonial District juggernauts met for the right to play St. Christopher’s in the finals, and only one prevailed. After trailing deep into the fourth quarter, the Deep Run Wildcats finally pounced on the John Marshall Justices, creating their own verdict for the final score; one where the boys from Short Pump came out victorious 63-59.
Despite adding several players to their roster for this season, Benedictine is still having trouble finding the playmaker and team leader they need to excel against prime Prep League competition. Aaron Fowlkes, a transfer from Glen Allen, took the reins for most of the game, hitting a three-pointer every quarter to bring his total to 17. Cutch Ellis and Deandre Thomas combined for 23 points, as the Cadets outrebounded the Saints 34-32, but even this wasn’t enough, as Benedictine trailed for almost the entire game.
St. Christopher’s stuck to their guns and handed the ball to Richmond commit Nick Sherod and junior Alexander Petrie at almost every chance they could. Sherod poured in 33 points while Petrie added another 26 to bring the tandem’s total to 59, equaling 87 percent of all Saint points on the night. Justin Jasper also added five. Although the Saints got the win, their free throw shooting was abysmal, as the team went 18 of 35 from the line, just 51 percent. The Saints want to improve on that in Wednesday night's Championship at the Siegel Center.
Having trailed the entire game, the fourth-ranked Wildcats found a way to win against the 3rd-ranked team in the latest RVA Sports Network Top 10 Poll. Damontez Oliver displayed why he’s a Division 1 athlete, headed to Campbell University next fall, by providing 20 points for the Wildcats, on top of Pacheco’s 15. Garrett Whitley and Harry Trippeer each had 6 and Kimani Donovan scored 7 much-needed 4th quarter points to ensure a Wildcat victory. Deep Run used their outside shooting to get past a Justice frontcourt full of strong, big men.
Despite shooting 86% from the line, John Marshall could complete a late comeback. Jeremy Carter-Sheppard scored 22 points, nine of which came from behind the arc. The Justices shot well; it was working toward a shot that was less successful,as Marshall turned the ball over eighteen times, compared to Deep Run’s nine. De’Marr McCrae had nine points for the Justices while Xavier Trent added another eight. John Marshall will face Benedictine in the 3rd place game Wednesday at 5pm.