GATE CITY — Winning on Homecoming in Gate City is always a welcome way to spend a Friday night.
For the Blue Devil faithful, however, the evening was even sweeter: Their two varsity basketball teams secured regular-season championships in the Clinch Mountain District.
In front of a capacity crowd, the Blue Devils’ boys defeated John Battle 63-38.
Gate City (16-5, 7-0) built an insurmountable lead that it never relinquished. Early in the first quarter, senior guard Luke Ervin sank back-to-back 3-pointers and senior center Andy Arnold added six points to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead.
Arnold led the Blue Devils with 16 points and several key blocks throughout the game.
After entering a shooting slump during the second quarter, Gate City’s offense came back to life in the third frame.
The Blue Devils outscored the Trojans 20-10 in that quarter, effectively ending any chance for a Battle comeback.
Despite their team falling behind by more than 20 points, Trojan guards Wesley Blaylock and Alex Posey led the way for Battle (10-8, 2-3) in the second half. Blaylock and Posey combined for 21 points in the contest.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Blue Devils earned the district title and a 60-36 victory over Battle.
Throughout the first half, both teams set a frenetic pace, but were unable to translate physical play into points.
While the contest was fiercely fought, it was also frightfully flawed. Missed layups, turnovers and numerous fouls prevented either team from getting into any kind of rhythm. For the game, the teams combined for 45 personal fouls.
Gate City (11-9, 7-0) compensated for its poor field goal shooting at the free throw line. In the second quarter, the Lady Devils shot 9-for-14 from the charity stripe.
Gate City coach Kelly Houseright acknowledged the team’s poor play in the first half.
“It was a physical game, but we didn’t play well in the first half. We were able to get a 20-4 lead, but we let Battle make a little bit of a run in the second quarter,” Houseright said.
In the fourth quarter, senior Morgan Gose picked up her 1,000th career point. Play was stopped to present her with the game ball.
For the evening, Gose led the Lady Devils with 26 points and a 12-for-12 performance from the charity stripe.
“I actually had no idea that I reached 1,000 points until they made the announcement,” Gose said. “It was a very special moment.”
“We were hoping she would get to 1,000 points tonight,” Houseright said.
“Seeing that it was Homecoming and Senior Night, that just makes it even sweeter for Morgan and the team.”
Gose’s sister Jordan scored 17 points and was 9-for-17 from the free throw line.