Every time D’Aze and D’Myo Hunter compete in an athletic contest, they have a high standard to uphold.
Their older brother, D’Ago, was a 1,000-point scorer for Eastern View’s boys basketball team who played on the program’s first two state tournament qualifiers in 2016 and 2017. And as good as he was on the hardwood, his prowess as an all-state football player for the Cyclones paved the way for a scholarship to Towson University, where he’s currently a sophomore wide receiver for the Tigers.
D’Ago’s fierce competitive spirit isn’t lost on his younger siblings—both of whom are key contributors for Eastern View’s boys hoops squad this season. And in Wednesday afternoon’s Region 4B championship game at Courtland, they both followed his example.
D’Aze totaled 13 points, six steals and four assists, and D’Myo tallied seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Cyclones rally for a 49-42 victory over the Cougars.
The win gives Eastern View (13-2) its first region crown in program history. The Cyclones will travel to face the winner of the Region 4A title tilt between Grafton and Smithfield in next Tuesday’s Class 4 state semifinals.
Courtland (13-3) ends its campaign one win shy of repeating as regional champions.
“They come from a very competitive family,” Eastern View head coach Patrick Thornhill said of the Hunters. “Just like D’Ago, they’re hard-nosed competitors who expect to win every time they set foot on a court or field.”
The Cyclones needed the brothers’ toughness and moxie more than ever after falling behind by as much as 14 points during the third quarter.
Leading 21-15 at halftime, the Cougars scored the first eight points of the third period to extend their advantage to 29-15 and force Thornhill to call a timeout with 5:43 left in the stanza.
“At that point, things were kind’ve getting away from us,” said Eastern View junior forward Corey Long, who finished the afternoon with 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. “Coach made some defensive adjustments in the huddle and then D’Aze and D’Myo got us going.”
Thornhill’s adjustments were simple, but effective: he switched from a man to a zone defense. With the Hunters clogging up Courtland’s passing lanes to the tune of six combined steals between them, it ignited a 22-5 run over the next eight minutes of game time.
D’Aze connected on a 3-pointer to kickstart the rally and also contributed six more points throughout its duration. D’Myo added a big 3 of his own, and the Cyclones finally took a 36-34 lead on a Rickey Butler trey with 5:10 left to play.
“We were well aware of what was on the line,” said D’Aze, a senior. “Winning our school’s first regional championship was a goal we’ve had from the start [of the season], and it feels great to have accomplished that.”
“I just try to come into the game and help the team any way I can,” said D’Myo, a freshman. “Whether that’s with my defense, scoring or whatever is needed, that’s what I try to do.”
The Hunters weren’t done yet, though. D’Aze dished out back-to-back assists to his younger brother that put Eastern View up 45-38 with 40 seconds to go, all but putting things on ice.
“This is big for our community,” Thornhill said. “To win our program’s first regional championship, the younger kids throughout Culpeper County are going to see this and want to be a part of something here.”
The Cougars were paced by 12 points apiece from sophomore guard Aaron Brooks and senior swingman Robert Harvey. Harvey tallied eight of his points in the final six minutes, snapping a scoring drought of more than six minutes for his squad.
“[Eastern View] made a defensive adjustment, and we didn’t attack it,” Courtland head coach Eric Davis said. “We went flat and didn’t match their energy after that. From about the four-minute mark [of the third quarter] until the buzzer, they dominated us. They absolutely deserved to win it and earn the right to represent our region at states.”
Eastern View 8 7 13 21—49
Courtland 4 17 11 10—42
Eastern View (13-2): Amaree Robinson 2, Rickey Butler 4, Gio Maxie 6, D’Aze Hunter 13, Corey Long 10, D’Myo Hunter 12, Taharka Siaca Bey 2. Totals: 15 16-22 49.
Courtland (13-3): Xander Alston 5, Aaron Brooks 12, Sean Wray 5, Micah Roberts 0, Raejon Harvey 0, Raul Gil 0, Darren Green 2, Robert Harvey 12, Michael Salvary 6. Totals: 16 8-10 42.
3-pointers: Eastern View 3 (Butler, D’Aze Hunter, D’Myo Hunter). Courtland 2 (Alston, Wray).