2023.02.23 Boys Basketball: VHSL Region 4C Championship, Handley @ Tuscarora

Leesburg, VA (February 23, 2023) - When the Tuscarora Huskies took the court, it was already the home of a regional basketball champion. Their girls team had won the title, and the boys team now had a tough act to follow. At the other end, the Handley Judges were a worthy opponent having defeated Dulles District tournament champions, Loudoun County, just two nights previous.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

Jaevon Brisco opened the first quarter scoring with a three-pointer, giving Handley an initial 3-0 lead. But when Michael Davis threw down his first dunk of the night, the Huskies were ahead 4-3. Davis dunked again to end the period with Tuscarora in front, 8-6, but neither team seemed ready to take command.

As the Tuscarora girls had done in the previous game, the boys went into a bit of a lull in the second period. Handley's pesky, scrambling defense seemed to get to the normally calm and collected Huskies, while Handley's Brisco and Emerson Fusco combined for three baskets from behind the arc. Able to beat the press with relative ease, the Judges stunned the home crowd and held a tenuous, but well-earned lead at halftime, 18-15.

Just by looking at the players on the court for the opening tipoff, anyone could tell that the Huskies had a height advantage over the Judges. And prior to the game, Tuscarora's Gavin O'Malley had been recognized for breaking the single-season rebounding record. But none of this seemed to make a difference in the first half.

That all changed in the third quarter. Fueled by brilliant outside shooting from Jayden Johnson and bolstered by complete inside domination from O'Malley and Davis, the Huskies outscored the Judges 22-2, a rout almost impossible to predict given Tuscarora's first half performance. Outplayed by the constantly battling and hustling Judges for the first two quarters, the Huskies defense was almost impenetrable under the basket. The third period ended with Tuscarora leading, 37-20.

From the outset of the fourth quarter, Handley had to foul to try to get back in the game, but the Huskies made more than enough free throws to maintain their lead. With about four minutes to go, the Huskies punctuated their dominant run with another slam from Davis. After that, both teams substituted freely and the Tuscarora boys knew they had matched the feat of their sister team.                  

Final Score: Tuscarora 54 - Handley 25 

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