Tyrese Jenkins stands 6-foot-7 and is listed as a wing on the Varina roster. But he considers himself a guard, and on Tuesday night in the Class 5, Region B semifinals, his guard skills were on display.
Jenkins made three consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter, igniting Varina’s offense and propelling the Blue Devils to an 82-58 win over Prince George in the Class 5, Region B semifinals.
Varina (22-1) will oppose L.C. Bird on Friday at Hermitage in the region final. Varina and Bird split their two regular-season matchups.
“The adrenaline was just going,” Jenkins said of his 3-pointers. “They were wide open so I figured I should make them.”
Jenkins has been capable of knocking downs 3s since he was a freshman, Varina coach Andrew Lacey said. The difference now is Jenkins’ consistency. Jenkins finished the contest with four 3s, which he guessed is the most he’s made in a game, though he’s done it before.
He became a key part of the Varina lineup as a sophomore, and now for three years in a row, he’s led Varina to the state tournament. The Blue Devils won their first state title a year ago.
He briefly left Varina, transferring to St. Anne’s-Belfield at the beginning of the school year. But he returned in September has been Varina’s most dependable player. When Varina needs a boost, Jenkins is there. He scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday night.
Varina led by 7 early in the third quarter when Jenkins sank his three straight 3-pointers. After the first, he turned around and got back on defense. After the second, he put up three fingers. When he sank the third, he turned to the Varina students and responded to their energy.
Having closed the third quarter on a 28-6 run, Varina ran off with the game. Its defense started recording consecutive stops, the pace of the game started picking up, and Varina’s offense began clicking. The concerned mood of the team loosened, and smiles started appearing on the faces of the players.
A.J. Williams scored 16 points, Jason Nelson added 12, and Charles Tart had 13. Jajour Lambert led Prince George (16-8) with 14 points, and Jeff Jackson scored 13.
Three minutes after he had sank those 3s, Jenkins snagged a rebound under the basket, went back up and scored the put back. He is 6-7 and muscular, after all, and projects as a forward in college.
“How do you guard him?” Lacey said, noting Jenkins’ wide range of ability.
PRINCE GEORGE (15-8) — Jajour Lambert 14, Johnny Soto 11, Tavian Morris 9, Patrick Gee 7, Jeff Jackson 13, Jacob Thompson 3, Cheruad Newsome 1. Totals: 21 10-15 58.
VARINA (22-2) — Tyrese Jenkins 21, Jordan Hernandez 10, Kenard Richardson 2, Jason Nelson 12, A.J. Williams 16, Charles Tart 13, Lavar Mallory 2, Lorenz Terry 4, Tre Epps 2. Totals: 25 23-32 82.
Prince George 12 10 11 25 — 58
Varina 18 14 30 20 — 82
3-point goals: — PG: Jajour Lambert 2, Johnny Soto 1, Tavian Morris 1, Patrick Gee 1, Jacob Thompson 1 VAR: Tyrese Jenkins 4, A.J. Williams 3.