Bullis School defeated Benedictine 73-57 in the 54th annual Benedictine Capital City Classic championship game Sunday night, but the Cadets left the event feeling good about themselves.
The Bulldogs came out of the gate quickly, going on a 11-3 run in the first five minutes. The Cadets (8-5) trailed 18-13 after the first quarter and went into intermission having narrowed the lead 30-28 before falling behind in the second half.
Three Cadets scored in double digits, including Davin Cosby (14), Lorenz Boykin (12) and Wendall “Tank” Tomlin (10).
Bullis was the better team Sunday night, said Benedictine coach Mark Royster, but his team has made massive progress from finishing eighth in last year’s event.
“This year, we had a lot of the same guys back. The improvement’s there, the attitude’s there,” Royster said. “We went from eighth to first, in my opinion, and I couldn’t be happier with these guys.
“I know they’re disappointed in not winning, but we gave them everything we had. The way our guys played going out, we’re so happy.”
The tournament MOP, Erik Reynolds, had 21 points for the Bulldogs. Rodney Rice led Bullis with 28.
This year’s BCCC was the last to be hosted at the historic Coach Rut Court in Memorial Gymnasium.
While the court paint and bleachers are still Cadet green, the campus itself is now home to Cristo Rey. Benedictine relocated to Goochland in 2013, and in 2020, the tournament will follow in its footsteps after the construction of the school’s new gymnasium.
Royster has been the Cadets’ coach for two years. Before that, he was the lead assistant for 22 years. And even further back, he was a student at Benedictine, where he won four Catholic state championships under Warren Rutledge, the winningest high school hoops coach in Virginia history.
The gymnasium has massive significance to alumni of the school, said Royster, not only as the home of Benedictine basketball, but also as a nerve center for the school: where students went when it rained, for school dances, run drills, to have fun.
After the game, alumni hung back to reminisce in the gymnasium’s front hallway, where the memorabilia of some of the Cadets’ 11 BCCC titles and 32 state championships with Rut Court as its home are displayed. Opposite, painted above the front door, reads “World War II Memorial/To our country’s heroes/Living & dead.”
“When we moved from here out to the Goochland campus, something went with it,” Royner said. “… This is a special place, and to be honest with you, I’m going to miss it.”