South Riding, VA (February 14, 2018) – The top placement in the tournament was one well-earned by the Freedom Eagles. An outstanding 19-3 record made them a formidable foe for the visiting Tuscarora Huskies who had finished a winning yet modest regular season at 12-10.
But post-season play is nothing if not surprising, and that's why they play the games. Yes, the Eagles had all of the advantages, including the home court, but Tuscarora came out of the locker room confident and ready to do some damage.
Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.
Unfortunately for Tuscarora they got off to a bit of a slow start. Dapper Coach Al Smith was forced to call his first timeout just three minutes into the game as his team had quickly fallen behind, 8-2.
From the outset, Freedom was scoring efficiently, but there was concern on the face of Eagles' coach Justin Powers as he lost Robbie Kemmerer to an ankle injury. Luckily, Vikram Gondy was able to step in and immediately add to his team's scoring punch.
In the second quarter, Tuscarora began to whittle away at the Freedom lead. In fact, they tied the score at 25-25 on a full-court drive by Henry Okoye at the two-minute mark. But before the half could end the Eagles wrested the momentum back on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Gondy.
The first part of the third quarter was Tuscarora's best. Understanding that their season was on the verge of ending the Huskies surged on both ends of the court. But Freedom's big man Hunter Oakford countered inside and out and sinking two devastating baskets from beyond the arc in the process.
While the margin had been three to four points consistently throughout the game, by the end of the period Freedom had stretched it to nine and Tuscarora appeared to be running out of gas. The fourth quarter was more of the same as the Eagles pulled away and moved on to the final.
Final score: Freedom 71 - Tuscarora 55
|Players who could be clearly identified by jersey number are listed in the links below. Additional photos of these and other players may be viewed and purchased in the full gallery.|