Kings Fork High School in Suffolk held their Martin Luther King Invitational this past Saturday January 18, 2013 and it featured high school girls and boys teams from Hampton Roads…..and a girls team…from Lawrenceville, Virginia…..the Brunswick High Lady Bulldogs. They were the stars on Saturday.
I was lucky enough to sit next to the brother of Brunswick’s starting point guard, Juanita Eshelman, who gave me great background and recent history of not just the girls team but also the boys team which until last year has been a juggernaut in that area under the auspices of former University of Virginia and NBA player, Bryant Stith (Stith is now an assistant coach at Old Dominion University). Two of Stith’s daughters, Brooke, a freshman and Bria, a sophomore, are young upstarts for this year’s edition.
Eshelman told me that under the new restructuring, Brunswick had been re-classified as Group 1-A after previously competing in AA. Classifications are based on school population and the former three group classification was changed in 2013 to six group classifications. Last year, the Lady Bulldogs lost to Spotswood in the State AA Final Game while the Brunswick Men’s team won their 3rt straight State AA Title.
This year, Brunswick has started their bid for the coveted state title with a 12-0 record including an away win over Richmond powerhouse LC Bird.
Their opponent Saturday were the Lady Crabbers of Hampton High School and the two teams not only exceeded expectations but were teams worthy of serious consideration in the postseason phase.
Both teams run fast paced offenses with varying pressure defenses which saw the halftime score at 42-38 Brunswick. The Lady Bulldogs made a run early in the third quarter to move the lead to 13 points behind seniors Mynesha Walker and Desiray Bennett. The combo scored on an assortment of inside hoops and three pointers for 58 points.
Hampton would shave the lead to four points, 81-77, but clutch free throw shooting and untimely missed layups and unforced errors saw the final score favoring Brunswick 87-79.
As my grandstand source ambled out to leave with his family and Brunswick team, we gave each other the thumbs up – “See ya at State, my friend”, I said as the next two teams began their layup lines in the background.
Special thanks to Brandon Eschelman for being such a great resource and fellow spectator in helping with valuable context to write this story.