Working up an appetite with district and regional trophies, Red Devils are hungry for a state crown

Lancaster fans were on their feet as time expired last Friday in the Red Devils win over Middlesex in the Region 1A championship. Over 800 people attended. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

The scenario seems all too familiar.

Lancaster heads into this week’s Class 1 state boys basketball tournament as the clear favorite. Last year, the Red Devils took a one-loss campaign into the state playoffs. This year, the record is unblemished at 26-0. But this year, according to coach Dwayne Pinn and his high-scoring Devils, the outcome’s going to be different.

“Last year is in all of our heads,” said senior Tyson Henderson, who exceeded the 1000-career scoring mark in the first half of last Friday’s Region 1A championship win, 64-50, over Middlesex.

“Our focus level is up. Our intensity level is up,” he added.

The Devils fell a game short of the state final in 2022, getting tripped up by Westmoreland in the Class 1 semifinal after beating the Eagles three times during the season including in the regional championship.

“I think we built something, learned something, after last year,” said Pinn. “We have a certain type of poise now.”

The Devils fended off a tenacious Middlesex High team last Friday to win the regional title and earn a home berth—of sorts—in this week’s state tournament. As mandated by Virginia High School League, state quarterfinals and semifinals must be played at a neutral site, so Lancaster and Region B runner-up Franklin will play at 7 p.m. Friday, March 3, at New Kent High School.

Franklin was the number one seed in Region B but lost to Altavista, 76-70, in that region’s tournament final last week. Middlesex, as the Region A runner-up, will play Altavista at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at Heritage High School in Lynchburg.

Franklin brings a 24-3 record into….

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