Byrd uses big second quarter in route to 71-41 “play-in” win

Byrd uses big second quarter in route to 71-41 “play-in” win 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

William Byrd HS, Vinton, VA –
Some seasons feel short and some are short. For the visting Magna Vista Warriors in last night’s 71-41 loss to William Byrd, both were true. In this continuing ‘pandemic-plagued’ basketball season, the Warriors finally got to play a game. It was their first and their last. After Henry County school officials had not allowed athletic play all year, the “powers that be” finally gave in and let Magna Vista and Bassett high schools participate, at least in the state playoffs. It didn’t end well. Bassett had to forfeit their ‘play-in’ playoff game to Hidden Valley due to contact tracing of Covid, and Magna Vista played, but looked like a team at the beginning of their year. And it was true. It was the beginning for the Warriors. Byrd on the other hand had just come off a hard fought, overtime loss to local power Northside.

Byrd F 20 Tyler Martin floats in for two

Terrier Head Coach said as much, “The good thing about playing Northside Friday night, was that we had prepped for that kind of pressure in our most recent practices. (Guard 4 Ruble) Trevor did a great job tonight.”
Battle tested, the Terriers showed it early against Magna Vista’s full court 1-2-2 press. After some early sloppy play, they forced the Warriors out of it as they pushed the ball down the court, and then made the visitors pay with buckets. Make no mistake about it, this was a physically talented Warrior team. They can play.

Magna Vista G 2 Tyler Johnson scores down the lane

But being able to play and having practiced enough to be ready to play are two different things.

First Half – Magna Vista came out with pressure right from the start. They caused the Terriers some issue hustling from behind and flicking the ball out,

Terrier F 30 Camden Richardson found his way to the rim throughout the night

but once Byrd got used to their athleticism the tide turned. Byrd began to move the ball up court through the middle cutter and then started to make Magna Vista pay by taking the ball to the bucket. All that said, it still took a three pointer at the top of the circle by G 24 Jeff Williams to notch the game at fourteen apiece at the end of quarter one. Byrd had worked it inside with both F 34 Jamie Cawley and F 30 Camden Richardson picking up two buckets each. For the Warriors, acrobatic G 2 Tyler Johnson scored twice in the lane on drives and G 3 Justin Redd drained two smooth threes.

Warrior G 3 Justin Redd defended by Byrd G 10 Ethan Tinsley

Johnson was nearly unstoppable when he took the ball to the bucket. He hung in the air and cantorted his body to get his shots off. The Junior was definitely a bright spot for the Warriors on a night without many.

Byrd’s 34 Jamie Cawley attempts to block Warrior G 10 Dekavis Preston’s field goal

In the second quarter, Byrd F 20 Tyler Martin got it going. His ten point quarter, highlighted by two deep corner three’s put pressure on Magna Vista to go out and guard. This left the post open for inside play. His back to back three’s at the five minute mark jumpstarted the Byrd team. Coach Cunningham was high on his Senior, “Tyler is very versatile and when he gets into a offensive rhythm like that, he is tough to guard. He is very smooth, a very good player.”

Martin let’s a three fly on Monday night

G 4 Trevor Ruble put a ribbon the quarter when he stroked a three as the horn sounded. At that point the Terriors had stretched out an eighteen point lead, 38-20.

Second Half – As the second half started, the general consensus was that Magna Vsita was going to have to speed Byrd up to get back into the game. Coach Cunningham was not going to let that happen. “We had built a lead and at that point you want to make them come guard you, take good shots, be patient, don’t force anything that you don’t have to, and keep getting stops. I think our kids executed that pretty well.”

F 30 Richardson throws down a breakaway dunk

Byrd was a picture of that execution in the second half. As the half started, Byrd passed up good shots for better ones. They passed the ball more than normal, working their offense and working the clock. The home team’s patience paid off as they extended their lead out to twenty four by the end of the third. With the exception of an end of the quarter launch, every shot that Byrd took was inside the arc. F 30 Richardson was particularly effective with six points, while F 34 Cawley chipped in with four.

Byrd G 24 Jeffrey Williams defends Magna Vista G 2 Tyler Johnson

In the final quarter, F 20 Martin put a bow on it with two more threes. The Senior finished with twenty two including four threes and a 4/4 night at the foul line. Byrd’s team effort was the difference though. When they play together, attack when they should, but be patient when it calls for it, they are a tough draw.

Up for grabs. Both teams vie for a rebound

Coach Cunningham knows what his team is capable of on any given night. “We kind of knew going into this season that if this group could come together and gel over the course of this whole year, we’d see some success. I think you are starting to see that. We saw it as coaches before they did. I think you’re starting to see that chemistry.”

Magna Vista’s season ends at 0-1 with this regional ‘play-in’ game being their only contest this year. William Byrd now moves into the Regional quarterfinals against Roanoke County nemesis Northside. The Vikings have beaten Byrd twice this year already, 62-49 on January 25th and then in overtime last Friday, 65-61.

Byrd G 4 Trevor Ruble bears down on defense against Warrior G 4 Courdae Gravely

William Byrd Martin 22 pts (3-FGs, 4-3 ptrs, 4/4 FT) Richardson 18 pts (7-FGs, 4/5 FT) Ruble 8 pts (2 FGs, 2-3ptrs) Cawley 8 pts (3-FGs, 2/2 FTs) Tinsley 6 pts (2 FGs, 2/2 FT) Williams 3 pts (1-3 ptr)  Meador 2 pts (1-FG)  Divers 2 pts (1-FG)  Hairston 2 pts (1-FG) 

Magna Vista  –  Johnson 13 pts (6FGs, 1/3 FT) Gardner 11 pts (4-FGs, 1-3 ptr) Redd 8 pts (1-FGs, 2-3ptrs, 0/2 FT) Martin 4 pts (1-FG, 2/2 FT) Preston 3 pt (3/4 FT) Millnoll 2 pts (2/2 FT) 


Cunningham on Tyler Martin

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