Region drought continues as Blues fall at Gate Cit
Richlands (56) Vs. Gate City (73)
Feb 23, 2016
for fhe Daily Telegraph
GATE CITY — It was slow start, fast finish for Gate City in Tuesday’s VHSL Region 2A West boys quarterfinals.
It took almost the entire first half for the Blue Devils to figure out Richlands’ 2-3 zone, but when they did it resulted in an impressive 73-56 victory.
Next up for Gate City (21-5) will be defending state champion Martinsville in the 2A West semifinals at 8 p.m. on Friday at Virginia-Wise. The Bulldogs blasted Appomattox 92-47 to advance.
The Blue Tornado’s zone forced Gate City to the perimeter and kept the Blue Devils off balance the first half. Although the Blue Devils managed to build a 20-12 lead early in the second half, Richlands answered with an 19-8 run to move ahead 31-28 at the half.
“We were just taking poor shots,” said Gate City coach Scottie Vermillion. “I think a little bit of it was the big game atmosphere.”
Blue Devils sophomore Mac McClung kept his team close by scoring 19 first-half points, including four 3-pointers.
“It was hard for us to get a rhythm going in the first half,” said McClung, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “Coach told us to stay focused and patient. Once we were able to get them out of that zone, things really started going our way.”
Gate City, playing with more energy in the third quarter, outscored Richlands 18-5 and began to get the separation it needed to force the Blue Tornado’s hand.
“I didn’t have a particular number in mind,” Richlands coach Fred Phillips of coming out of the zone defense. “I just played it by ear. We don’t have the footspeed to play teams man-to-man. But I knew when we had to make that switch, we were in trouble.”
When the Blue Devils saw the man-to-man defense, they sensed blood in the water and went for the kill.
Gate City freshman Zac Ervin, held scoreless in the first half, turned on the jets after halftime and flew to the basket. He was unstoppable and finished the contest with 17 points.
“We just had to toughen up and play with more energy,” Ervin said. “We adjusted to what Richlands was doing and stayed aggressive.”
Hoping to slow the Blue Devils in the fourth quarter, Richlands began fouling. Gate City hit 12 of 14 free throws down the stretch to put the game on ice. The Blue Devils went 22-for-27 from the charity stripe for the game while the Blue Tornado hit 4 of 9 foul shots.
“Gate City feeds off its fans,” Phillips said. “This is a great high school atmosphere.
“In the end we didn’t make the plays when we had to,” he added, “and they did.”
The Blue Devils outscored Richlands 45-25 in the critical second half.
Scottie Ball led Richlands with 17 points, Cody Fuller added 11 and Luke Phillips had 10.

at Gate City High School
Lowe 2 1-2 5, Luke Phillips 4 2-6 10, Cody Fuller 4 0-0 11, Ratliff 1 0-0 2, Scottie Ball 8 1-1 17, Smith 1 0-0 3, Herndon 0 0-0 0, Moir 0 0-0 0, Horn 0 0-0 0, Thomason 2 0-0 5. Totals 22 4-9 56.
GATE CITY (21-5)
Mac McClung 7 8-8 26, Qualls 2 2-4 6, Collier 3 0-2 6, Zac Ervin 6 5-5 17, Barnes 3 0-0 8, Jones 1 3-4 6, Pendleton 0 4-4 4. Totals 22 22-27 73.
Richlands..........10 21 5 20 — 56
Gate City............10 18 18 27 — 73
3-point goals — Richlands 6 (Phillips, Fuller 3, Smith, Thomason), Gate City 7 (McClung 4, Barnes 2, Jones)
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Richlands 10 21 5 20 0 56
Gate City 10 18 18 27 0 73
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