Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Forge Eagles came into Monday night’s contest at Patriot off an exciting victory over the Stone Wall Jackson Rebels just 3 days earlier. It was the second win of the season for the GREEN and it was one of those hang tough down the stretch affairs, where the “good guys” stood tall late and came away with a 78-75 win.
The opposite happened on this night in Nokesville. In this one, the Forge started slow, came back to take a 5 point halftime lead only to see all their hard work blow up in the second half. The Eagles fell to 2 and 5 on the season and now enter the Commonwealth District part of their schedule, tested but still searching for answers.
Patriot came into the game with an unblemished 6-0 record and was an impressive non district opponent, but the Forge lack of offense and turnovers down the stretch allowed the Pioneers to put this one in their win column.
The Eagles started slow and went down 8-0 quickly before senior Josh Osakwe put the GREEN on the board with a right handed scoop shot from the left block. Patriot controlled play in the opening frame and when they did miss shots, they were cleaning the glass and cashing in on multiple second chance opportunities. Pioneer forward Jackson Ford hit a bomb from long range with 3 minutes left in the first to put the home team on top 15-6 and forced Eagle coach Anthony Mills to get a timeout to talk it over.
Whatever was said in that Forge huddle seem to light a fire as Junior Martin Kawa got the Eagles going hitting back-to-back “BULLS-EYES” to cut the Patriot lead to 15-12. Patriot kept the Eagles at bay late in the quarter when game high scorer Devon Parrish hit a couple of jumpers and the two team went to the break with the home team on top 19-14.
Just like the start of the game, the Pioneers scored the first half dozen points of the second quarter before Forge junior Trevor Franklin put a halt to the run hitting a jumper to make the score 25-16 Patriot. The stanza turned into a foul and turnover fest midway through but the Eagles clawed their way back in with some swarming defense. When Osakwe hit a shot in the paint with a 2:17 left in the half, the “good guys” had cut the Pioneer lead to 28-26.
The momentum clearly shifted to the Forge sideline late when Antonio McIlwain buried two three pointers from the corner and when the dust settled it was the Eagles headed to the halftime locker room with a 39-34 lead.
At the start of the second half, the Eagles were the more determined group. Osakwe hit a fade away in the paint and followed it up with a “BULLS-EYE” from beyond the right arc and the Forge extended their lead to 43-34 with 5:48 left in the quarter. Things were all GREEN with 3:32 left until it started to get a little choppy and the Pioneers made their charge. The home team went on a 10-5 run late, capped off by a buzzer beating jumper by Parrish that got the home crowd into it and had the Forge clinging to a 50-49 lead headed to “winning time”.
The problem with winning time on this night was it turned into turnover and missed shot time for the “good guys”. The Forge deficiency on the offensive end in the final quarter sealed their fate as they were outscored 22-9 in the frame and it allowed the Pioneers to walk off with their seventh straight victory of the season.
The Eagles execution down the stretch made you forget about the team toughness displayed at Stonewall Jackson. The Forge has no time to dwell on this latest miscue and they get right back at it on Tuesday night, again on the road at Riverbend. The GREEN returns home on Thursday night to head into the holiday break against the Brooke Point Black Hawks. The Eagles have already hosted the Hawks in the pre-season district tournament with Brooke Point walking out of the Forge with a 73-63 win. Hopefully the Eagles still have a bit of a sour taste in their mouths after that home opening loss and the “good guys” can start the district portion of their schedule with a win.