Handley loses state quarterfinal 59-57 to Bruton (Story Update)

Posted: March 2, 2013

Kevin Trudgeon

HARRISONBURG — The Handley High School boy’s basketball team came up just short in a 59-57 loss to Bruton in the Group AA, Division 3 quarterfinals at James Madison University’s Convocation Center Saturday.

The Judges (21-5) jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and led by as much at 13 in the first half, but halftime adjustments by Bruton (20-5) paid dividends.

The Panthers took their first lead of the game late in the third quarter and pushed it to 11 with 2:32 left in the fourth.

But a furious rally by the Judges, who were hampered by foul trouble with big men Cameron Jackson and Darion Robinson all game long, closed the deficit to just two with 11 seconds left.

In a crazy sequence of events, senior Jacob Rudolph stole a pass in the backcourt and appeared to have a wide-open layup to tie the game.

But Rudolph’s shot rolled off the rim and, after a scramble for the ball under the basket, junior Solomon Finley was fouled with 0.4 seconds left in the game and Handley down 59-57.

Needing both to tie and send the game to overtime, Finley missed the first and an attempt to intentionally miss the second and try to for a last-second tip-in failed.

Finley finished with a team-high 12 points and Jackson, who along with Robinson fouled out in the fourth quarter, totaled 10 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

The Judges overcame a disappointing second-place finish in the Northwestern District regular season to reach the state tournament, winning the district tournament and the Region II, Division 3 championship before coming up two points short of the semifinals.

“I’m proud of the effort our kids gave,” said Handley coach Tommy Dixon. “We could have easily given up [in the fourth quarter] but they kept fighting. I’m proud of them and I love them all.”

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