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Bland County (31) Vs. George Wythe (95)
Feb 12, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
ROCKY GAP, Va. — Give Bland County credit, at least they played basketball on Friday night.
It was George Wythe that benefited the most.
Noah Atwood scored 21 points and Malik Johnson added 16, leading the Maroons to their 16th straight win with a 95-31 Mountain West Conference rout over the Bears on a snowy and cold evening in Bland County.
George Wythe (19-2), whose lone losses came to 4A William Byrd and 3A Northside in late December, had little trouble with the Bears, building a 22-5 first quarter lead, which was the fewest points the Maroons scored in a period on the night.
“It is hard just to key on one man,” Bland County head coach Rich Hankins said. “We tried to key on Johnson a little bit early and they spread the wealth around well. It is real easy to see that they are 19-2 and tops in the conference.”
Playing its second game in two nights when many area teams were sitting at home, Bland County had a chance to beat Galax on Thursday before falling 54-50. There would be no close call in this one, as the Bears (3-18) dropped their 14th straight contest.
“It is amazing the difference between last night and tonight,” Hankins said. “Last night we played Galax and I thought we outplayed them. We had an 11-point lead in the second half and I don’t know if we just didn’t have enough legs to finish and then come out tonight against a very good George Wythe team and we didn’t challenge early.
“They played with a lot of confidence and knocked some shots down that gave them a lot of momentum. It is a tough this late in the year playing on back to back nights and we have to turn around do it again tomorrow.”
Bland County, which was led by Ethan Cook and Alex Treadway with five points apiece, plans to host archrival Narrows in a four-game affair today starting at 1 p.m., weather permitting.
“We have got Narrows coming into our place and they have beaten us twice already so we have got our work cut out for us,” said Hankins, whose Bears have lost to the Green Wave by 12 and 8 points this season. “This late in the year, especially on back to back to back nights it is tough on everybody, but we will circle the wagons and save the women and children and go from there.”
While George Wythe canned nine 3s, forced nearly three dozen turnovers and ran the floor for easy layups on the other end, the Bears showed their youth and lack of experience, missing numerous early looks that led to baskets for the Maroons.
“We are so young in spots that it is going to take us some time to get some kids lined out and playing with the confidence that they are capable of playing with,” Hankins said. “You have got to give George Wythe a lot of credit. They got out in the passing lanes and got some deflections and really attacked us offensively.”
Robert Watson was the third George Wythe scorer to reach double figures with 15 points. The Maroons canned nine 3s and were 30 for 35 from the free throw line, led by Atwood, who was 11 for 12 and Johnson, who was 8 for 9 and also had a fourth quarter dunk.
It wasn’t all that long ago when Hankins started a collection of freshmen who eventually led the Bears to within one game of the 1A state semifinals in Richmond, a team that produced a trio of 1,000 point scorers.
Could this be a similar building project?
“We don’t have a lot to choose from,” Hankins said. “We have got to kind take our licks here for a year or two and really come out fighting. Hopefully they are going to gain some valuable experience and hopefully they will be as good as this George Wythe team some day.”
Bland County, which also got four points from Jacob Cross, Jonathan Bright and Jake Watters, is slated to travel on Monday to face Chilhowie in a Mountain West Conference tournament opener.
What does Hankins hope to see from his squad as the season approaches the end?
“The biggest thing for us is trying to gain a little confidence in getting ready for next year,” Hankins said. “Our younger kids have played the majority of the minutes and gained some valuable experience.
“They have just got to play in the offseason and try to get ready.”
/ Twitter @bdtwoodson

at Bland County High School
Max Dillon 0 2-4 2, Noah Atwood 4 11-12 21, Malik Johnson 3 8-9 16, Robert Watson 6 1-1 15, Chase Rosenbaum 3 3-4 9, Nate Russell 3 0-0 8, Jacob Jones 1 0-0 2, Jake Martin 1 2-2 4, Josh Reeves 2 1-1 6, Anthony Thompson 3 0-0 6, Will Henley 2 2-2 6. Totals 28 30-35 95.
Jacob Cross 2 0-0 4, Zane Cunningham 1 0-0 3, Jake Watters 2 0-0 4, Ethan Cook 2 0-0 5, Patrick Christian 1 0-0 2, Jonathan Bright 1 1-2 4, Dylan Townley 0 0-0 0, Tristan Dillow 0 2-4 2, Alex Treadway 2 0-0 5, Henry Lundy 0 0-2 0, Ty Ritter 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 3-8 31.
George Wythe...............22 24 24 25 — 95
Bland County..................5 10 9 7 — 31
3-point goals: GW 9 (Atwood 2, Johnson 2, Watson 2, Russell 2, Reeves 1); BC 4 (Cunningham 1, Cook 1, Bright 1, Treadway 1). Total fouls: GW 11; BC 21. Fouled out: none. Technicals: Johnson. JV—GW 45-33.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Bland County 5 10 9 7 0 31
George Wythe 22 24 24 25 0 95
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