North Cross was hoping the third time might be the charm.
That proved to be wishful thinking against a stacked Hargrave Military basketball team Saturday afternoon at the Roanoke College Bast Center.
Dominating in virtually every aspect of the game, Hargrave dispatched North Cross 74-39 in the VIC Division II tournament final.
While North Cross did receive the second-place consolation trophy, they also get the pleasure of knowing that they won’t have to face the Tigers in the upcoming state tournament, where the Raiders are expected to have a VIS Division III home game next week at Jim Muscaro Gym. Hargrave will advance in the higher-level VIS D-II tournament.
According to the North Cross staff, Hargrave had four players on the floor Saturday that were already set for the Hargrave postgraduate program, none more prominent than 6-foot-6 big-men D.J. Meyers and Trey King, who finished with 19 and 17 points, respectfully. The pair offered several slam dunk showcases Saturday that were entertaining for the crowd, but impossible to defend by the smaller Raiders.
This Tiger talent was one that North Cross couldn’t get by the tail, and admittedly so by North Cross head coach Ed Green, who had seen his scrappy Raiders lose to by 36 and 14 points in the regular season.
“Those guys are a very good team,” Green noted at court side minutes after the post game presentations. “They are athletic, they are tall, they’re quick, they play great defense and they can take it to the basket. We lost to them twice in the regular season, so we knew what we were up against.”
North Cross saw its last lead of the game when it was up 7-5 midway through the first quarter. Hargrave then went on a 7-0 run before taking a 12-9 lead after the opening frame.
The Tigers pushed their advantage to 20-11 leading to a half-court heave at the buzzer that sent Hargrave to the halftime break up 30-20.
The Tiger lead reached 20 at the 2:31 mark of the third quarter and reached 52-29 heading to the final 8 minutes. Hargrave pushed the advantage to over 30, at 63-32, with 4:44 left, and the only mystery down the stretch was the final margin.
North Cross had a trio of player hit double digits, with freshman Zaewuan Baines scoring 11 points, with junior James Nworah and senior guard Chase Overton each canning 10.