GOOCHLAND – Although he likes to score the ball, J.B. Bell has not really been a dunker.
But when Randolph-Henry strung together a couple of baskets in the fourth quarter, Bell was called back to the floor. And when he received the pass from a Goochland teammate, the 6-foot-7 sophomore, with one arm, smashed the ball through the hoop while airborne to spark cheers from the home crowd and cement the momentum in his Bulldogs’ favor with 3:44 remaining.
“The energy was up,” Bell said, “and it just made the crowd happy.”
His dunk elevated him to a game-high 19 points in Goochland’s resounding 63-31 home win over the Statesmen. The Bulldogs with the triumph completed a sweep of Randolph-Henry in back-to-back nights after besting the same team 60-52 on Tuesday.
Bell added 9 rebounds to his 19-point night.
“There’s a whole lot of upside to him and we’re going to go as far as he wants to take us,” Goochland head coach Preston Gordon reiterated of Bell. “And I know that’s a lot to ride on a sophomore, but it’s knowing the potential that this young man has on both ends of the floor…I’m proud of him. He’s a hard worker. There’s so much potential there for him.”
Senior Quincy Snead made plays all over the place, double-doubling with 15 points and 11 rebounds while also mixing in 5 steals and 5 assists and flying to the basketball in bids to keep it inbounds.
“The energy that this young man brings to the table is just – it’s hard for other teams to match,” Gordon said of Snead. “I wish we had five of the guy; his motor…it’s unbelievable.”
Junior Kameron Holman followed up a 23-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist, 4-steal night on Tuesday with 11 points on Wednesday.
It was a night in which the Bulldogs were playing to their potential, Gordon said; they were shooting well and firing on all cylinders.
“It’s knowing the caliber team that you have and finally getting these guys to put it all together,” Gordon said. “I thought we played a really, really fantastic first half.”
The Bulldogs led Randolph-Henry 30-7 after the first quarter and 50-22 at halftime. They parlayed rebounds, a steal from Holman, a block by Bell and turnovers by the Statesmen into a 17-0 game-opening run. More than four minutes still remained in the half when Holman knocked down a long jumper inside the arc to join teammates Snead and Bell in tallying up double-digit points totals.
“I thought the way we played set the tone from the beginning: getting in our press, applying ball pressure and being able to shoot the gaps and read their movements or actions,” Gordon said.
He was really, really proud of senior Kyin Carter and how he played; while he didn’t score, Carter complemented 6 rebounds with lockdown defensive play against Randolph-Henry’s Reginald Bullock, who the night before scored 12 points against Goochland. This time, Bullock was held to a 5-point game and a scoreless first half.
“I just thought he just did a really nice job for us. Sometimes it’s not always about the glory of scoring points, and I think he’s okay with that,” Gordon said of Carter. “He’s an offensive lineman, so he knows he’s not used to getting all the glory, but it’s doing the work down low.”
Eight different players netted points for Goochland, and the entire bench got to play in Tuesday's game.
Subs were in the game for the Bulldogs during the fourth quarter when the Statesmen hit on a 4-0 burst to open the stretch. Goochland still held a 28-point lead, but Gordon had remembered being down by that much and coming back to win the game. On the other side, he’s been up by 22 points before the other team came back to win.
“You never can count out teams,” he said.
That’s when Bell came back in, and that’s when he slammed in the dunk to spark both the crowd and his own team. He came right back out of the game, but Randolph-Henry scored just 2 points after that.
The night before against Randolph-Henry on Tuesday, Bell scored 14 points and added 7 rebounds, senior Walker Murray scored 9 points and added 8 rebounds and Carter complemented 8 rebounds with 6 points. Kindrick Braxton in that same game added a 4-0 burst against the Statesmen.
Gordon after Wednesday’s game said he was proud of their fans and the support they get from the community.
“It’s a good atmosphere,” he said.
The Bulldogs (10-1), one year after winning 21 straight games and achieving a school-record 23 wins, are currently on an eight-game winning streak. They’ll look to make it 10 games before the week’s end with a 7 p.m. home game versus Amelia on Friday and a 4:15 p.m. matchup against the larger Class 6 Clover Hill in Saturday’s invitational at Monacan High School.
“This team, we’ve been together for so long – it’s the chemistry that we have,” Bell said. “It brings everything together and we just play well as a team, and we just want to be better than we were last year and do more.”