Rapids News · L.C. Bird turns back James River Boy’s Basketball team in back-and-forth Opening game, 61-55

Game write-up below on the game from the RTD: https://richmond.com/sports/high-school/timely-steals-daughtry-help-l-c-bird-turn-back-james-river/article_ff194409-209c-519c-b2e0-fce8af46fa09.html#utm_source=richmond.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletter-templates%2Fpreps&utm_medium=PostUp&utm_content=4fbfa712e09a6eb84277db8141506fd6faa91a82

To the L.C. Bird boys basketball team’s ID card this season, put this under height: everywhere.

Playing as fast as possible on offense and constantly pressuring ballhandlers on defense have been signatures for the Skyhawks under coach Troy Manns. Opponents now had better be able to throw the ball around and over some college-sized guards.

Bird can put 6-foot-5 guard Jaden Daughtry, 6-5 guard Bryce Blaine, 6-4 guard Promyse Ferguson, 6-3 guard Yuri Manns or 6-2 guard Davien Banks on the ball. Behind them are forwards ranging from 6-6 to 6-9.

“This is the biggest team overall we’ve ever had,” Manns said.

Homestanding James River isn’t small either and did a nice job handling the length and pressure for the most part Friday night. But some timely Bird steals in the fourth quarter, combined with a technical foul and Daughtry’s finishing kick, gave Bird enough of a push to claim a 61-55 victory in a game between teams that have state playoff aspirations – Bird in Class 5, James River in Class 6.
“James River does a fantastic job against our press, so we have to make adjustments to it,” Manns said. “You’ve got to kind of change up some things when we play them because they’re so prepared.”
Most teams will have a hard time preparing for Bird’s size, depth and interchangeable pieces, especially after the Skyhawks get some practice time. Manns said his team has practiced three times in about 2 ½ weeks because of the pandemic.
They beat Midlothian Wednesday night but didn’t do much Thursday outside of watching film. They also have games scheduled for Saturday and Monday.

“What we’re doing right now is we’re learning on the fly, and we’re very appreciative of having the opportunity to play,” Manns said.

He’s learning he has another dimension with the diverse game of Daughtry, a junior transfer from Benedictine. He has offers from Old Dominion, Norfolk State, Marshall and Hampton, among others.

The left-hander had 23 points, 11 in the fourth quarter. Blaine had 15 points.

“He’s a fantastic kid,” Manns said of Daughtry. “He’s a fun kid to be around. He’s a sponge. He wants to learn. … He’s a multifaceted guy. He can hit a 3. He can post up. He can handle the ball. So we just try to take advantage of the mismatches when they present themselves.”
James River, playing its first game, had some trouble with the pressure early and fell behind 25-15 before steadying itself. The Rapids can score with 6-9 Cole Grubbs (17 points), 6-6 Neal Hill (7) and guards Pierce Boerner (7) and Zakari McQueen (17), who transferred from Matoaca.

They cut the deficit to five by halftime, held Bird to three points in third quarter, and took the lead on Miles Johnson’s 3-pointer with 2:54 left in the third period. Their advantage was 40-39 with 6:23 remaining in the game when Daughtry scored inside and was fouled by a player who wore a jersey number that didn’t match the scorebook, resulting in a technical foul and a possible seven-point sequence.

Neither team had a stellar night at the foul line. Daughtry missed his free throw, and Davien Banks made one of the two technical free throws. With Bird still having possession of the ball, Daughtry hit one of two shots after being fouled.
A turnover produced a layup by Blaine and a 45-40 lead.

“I thought we had about three slip-ups [with turnovers] late,” James River coach Andrew Blazar said. “That’s their identity as a program, and they’re going to punish you every time you turn the ball over, especially those live-ball turnovers.

“We’re going to be good. Like I told the guys after the game, we played far from our best basketball and lost to the best team we’ll play in the regular season by two or three baskets.”

L.C. Bird      20 14 3 24 – 61

James River 13 16 9 17 — 55