RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A year from now, De’Monte Buckingham and Nick Sherod will look back, laugh, and likely dispute the Henrico Holiday Hoops Final’s result; an 87-74 win for the Henrico Warriors over the St. Christopher’s Saints.
Perhaps if Sherod had scored 35 points, the Saints would have won. If Gus Rowland didn’t take over in the fourth quarter, maybe the Warriors let it slip away.
They’ll have that luxury because they will be wearing the same uniform at the Robins Center for the Richmond Spiders after both finish high school this year.
On a night that seemingly fell into any basketball lovers’ lap, it was as much about the future for Buckingham and Sherod as it was about two elite Richmond high school basketball programs measuring their progress this early in the season.
Henrico’s senior point guard Gus Rowland admitted it was a unique scenario to be in, “It was a great matchup, I like to see stuff like that.”
Even Spiders men’s basketball head coach Chris Mooney, the man who recruited the two high school phenoms, made the trip to Henrico High School a day after his team lost in Lubbock, Texas a night before.
All the stars aligned, and the two, foes for one evening, dazzled as they usually do. Buckingham finished with 28 points, and nine rebounds; his counterpart outdid him only slightly: 29 points, 13 rebounds as well as three 3-pointers.
“It was very fun,” says Buckingham after hugging Sherod following the victory. “I knew it was going to be competitve and all the coaches would come see us play.”
Other major contributors for the Saints and Warriors: St. Chris’s Justin Jasper set a personal tournament high in scoring with 19 points, Alex Petrie added 15 points after dropping 20 against the Titans the night prior; Henrico’s Gus Rowland had 18 points, scoring about a quarter of those in the fourth quarter, and Richard Sanders provided 19 points and two blocks.
Buckingham was named MVP of the Holiday Hoops Tournament, but even he must think Nick could have had a share of it too.
But as he said after the game on teaming up with Sherod next year, “I’ll have some bragging rights when we go to Richmond,” followed by a joyful chuckle.
Sherod could be seen cracking a tiny smile next to Buckingham after receiving their awards. They both know, when they get to the collegiate level, the rest of the A-10 will have to recognize the Spiders’ future dynamic duo in the years to come.