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HOMETOWN HOOPS: James River alum Ethan Humphries brings championship pedigree back to Knights

Humphries led the Knights to a state championship as a player in 2010 and returned a decade later to try and bring his alma mater back.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 12:17 AM EST
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BUCHANAN, Va. (WDBJ) - High aspirations are plentiful on this year’s James River boys basketball team, and for good reason.

“We are really striving to be the best defensive team in all of 2A, pretty much the best 2A defensive team in the state,” said senior guard Jayson Easton. “That’s what our goal is and that’s what we’re trying to do every day.”

The Knights entered this week at 10-3, fresh off a 15-point win over Lord Botetourt, after falling to their county rivals earlier in the season.

“We felt like we let ‘em off the hook that first go-around, and so to come back and sit on it for about six weeks was tough,” said head coach Ethan Humphries. “We wanted to get right back at it, but yeah it felt good. It was a great Saturday night county rivalry game and couldn’t have asked for much more from our guys.”

Humphries knows what big wins look like in Buchanan.

The James River alum led the Knights to a state championship as a player back in 2010 and returned a decade later to try and bring his alma mater back.

“It’s great, just being able to say I’ve walked these hallways and been in their shoes before,” he said. “I think it’s a relatable experience for all the guys.”

“It’s really cool,” added senior forward Patrick Clevenger. “It’s great to hear from his perspective back in his playing days on how he handled some of the pressure, making a deep run to the state title, which we hope we do, and what he was able to do on the court.”

The team is loaded with next-level talent, including Clevenger and Easton, who are both committed to playing in the ODAC at Roanoke and Lynchburg, respectively.

And while Humphries says this squad plays a different style than the one he cut down the nets with, he knows they have the talent and the drive to add another trophy to the case.

“On the defensive end, we’ve made some great strides, and I think that’s what we want our identity to be,” said Humphries. “Offensively, we can shoot, but we don’t want to rely on that. I think they share the ball really well, which we did back in the day, and so it’s a fun group to coach.”

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