Blues Overcome Raiders In State Semis, Prepare To Host Championship

Jonathan Schwab


Wednesday, Feb. 17 – The Parry McCluer High School boys basketball team advanced to  the Class 1 state championship game by defeating J.I. Burton 51-46 in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Norton.

The Fighting Blues (11-1), who will play host for the championship on Saturday, got an outstanding performance from star forward Spencer Hamilton, who scored 31 points and added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. Hamilton was a force inside and also made a pair of 3-poitners and sank 7-of-10 free throws.

The Blues only trailed briefly early in the first quarter, and their largest lead in the game was nine. PM led 13-5 after the first quarter and was up 24-16 at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, a 3-pointer from Noa Godsey cut PM’s lead to three points, on his way to making five 3-pointers for 15 points for the Raiders (14-3).

PM built up a 34-25 lead by the end of the third quarter, but J.I. Burton scored five points in 30 seconds to cut it to four. After Will Dunlap took a charge for PM, Hamilton scored an inside basket to put the Blues up 38-30.

Making three 3-pointers over the next few minutes, the Raiders cut the lead to 42-41 with about two minutes left. J.I. Burton kept battling, but the Blues made defensive stops, with Dunlap blocking two shots in the final minute, and sealed the win from the free throw line.

Other than Hamilton, the Blues’ leaders were Dunlap with eight points, eight rebounds, and Ethan Moore with six.

Trevor Culbertson led the Raiders with 20 points and dished out seven assists.

In the state finals, the Blues will face Altavista, which overcame Mathews 58-56 in the other state semifinal. Last month, the Blues defeated Altavista 63-52. Before coaching the Blues, PM head coach Mike Cartolaro coached Altavista to four state championships.

In the finals, the Blues will play host to Altavista on Saturday at 2 p.m. Fans can watch by subscribing to

The championship game usually takes place at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond but was moved to the school of the home team due to COVID-19.

For the full story and photos from the state tournament, please see our Feb. 24 newspaper.  


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