by Cameron Deloatch, i64sports
For the first time in 91 years, the Maury Commodores can call themselves state champions. The “Maury Curse” was finally lifted after the Commodores defeated Freedom-South Riding 57-49 to win their first state championship under the new regime of Brandon Plummer.
To start the game, Maury duo Bryan Phillips and Clarence Rupert took turns harassing Freedom’s defense through a number of dribble drives and interior baskets. The trend of interior dominance would continue for Maury as the quarter ensued. At the end of the first quarter, Maury held a 12-point deficit.
In the second quarter, Freedom showed why they belonged in the state championship game, outscoring Maury by four points. Freedom held Maury without any fast break points in the second quarter. The Commodores led 28-20 going into the half.
To start the second half, the Eagles were able to turn the tide in their favor, narrowing the Maury lead to just four early in the third quarter. But after a Maury timeout, the game shifted in a dramatic way.
Maury jumped out to a 16-point lead after dominating once again on the inside, plus a pair of three-pointers to take a commanding lead. After a huge tomahawk slam by Clarence Rupert on the fastbreak, the game seemed all but over as the Commodores began to sense a state championship.
In the final period, Freedom battled back, but the lead that the Commodores built was too much to overcome. The crowd grew louder and louder as the game wound down to the last seconds. When the clock hit 0:00 Coach Plummer dropped to his knees as he realized that they finally accomplished their goal. Chase Coleman and teammates emotions poured out as well as they tasted a state championship victory for the first time.
History was made Wednesday afternoon, as the Commodores ended their championship drought and Freedom did the impossible by defying the odds and making this far as well. Congratulations to both teams for amazing seasons.
Rupert with a double-double (18 points and 12 rebounds), while Bryan Phillips added 15 points. Kyle Skinner led Freedom with 12 points and three rebounds.