RICHMOND - Central Virginia fans will not see a mentor versus the student coaching matchup in the Boys Division 1 state championship game.
Parry McCluer lost to West Point 62-53 in the state semifinals Thursday evening.
The Fighting Blues head coach is Nelson Fox. He was an assistant coach at Parry McCluer when Altavista coach Mike Cartolaro was a player at Parry McCluer back in the late 1970s. Fox, who communicates often with Cartolaro, joked during the post game interview that he called Cartolaro while his team was on the bus and Cartolaro said he'd give Fox a scouting report on the Colonels "plus 15 points" if they happened to meet in the finals.
Parry McCluer finished the season 21-7. Sam Armstrong scored 13 points. Ryheem Dawson and Josh Perry added 10 each.
Fox said, "Our kids fought really hard. They did an outstanding job all year long and we just had too many turnovers (22). [West Point is] very good going 10 deep [with their lineup]."
West Point used full court pressure defense to rack up those turnovers, 14 of which came in the first half. Fox adjusted their plan to attack the pressure at halftime and curbed its effectiveness but "in the second half but got a little too anxious with the ball, more so than we wanted to," Fox said.
Fox added that Parry McCluer hadn't faced a team like West Point that featured an up tempo pressure defense except in scrimmages against teams like Goochland and E.C. Glass.
One Fighting Blue player said after not advancing to the state tournament last year, the team wanted to get to Richmond but their run just came up short of an appearance in the finals.
It was Parry McCluer's first state semifinal appearance since 1995.
Fox said, "We wish we could have played one more game but we'll work hard to get back here."
"I thought the fan support was tremendous," Fox said. After the team's state quarterfinal victory last week the team returned to Buena Vista around midnight and had fans and the fire and police departments blaring sirens as the team exited from the bus into the school gym.
That type of support was in the seats here inside the Siegel Center.
West Point was assessed a technical foul at halftime for a uniform code violation. Their jerseys had a Nike swoosh on them and that is not allowed under VHSL rules.
West Point coach Geoff McCulloch said his team will get some fabric tape to cover up the swoosh before the finals.