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Blue Devils Subdue Eagles in Season Opener
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Nov 28, 2012, 16:43

Hopewell senior Donovan Ennis (10) converts a layup in transition as Chesterfield Community senior Jordan Wilkins (21) defends on Tuesday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).


HOPEWELL – Former Hopewell High School boys basketball coach Bill Littlepage watched from a courtside table as the team he once helmed opened its 2012 campaign on Tuesday.

And the winningest Group AAA coach in Virginia High School League history must have liked what he saw.

Hopewell made a fast start and never trailed en route to an 82-62 victory over visiting Chesterfield Community in the first round of the inaugural Bill Littlepage Tipoff tournament at Ledbetter Gymnasium.

The Blue Devils overwhelmed the Eagles with a full-court press that produced a 27-point lead in the second half. The visitors settled in down the stretch – and reciprocated with their own defensive pressure – but Hopewell’s berth in Wednesday’s championship game never appeared to be in jeopardy.

“I think we have to do a better job of making decisions as far as when to shoot, and improve our offensive execution,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “But overall, I thought the effort was good. I’d just like to see us be a little more cohesive.”

The tournament hosts wasted little time getting started.

Sophomore Daniel Saunders drained a 3-pointer from the left side on Hopewell’s first trip down the floor and senior Tevin Holloway followed suit with a long-distance offering from the right flank on the team’s second possession.

Holloway tacked on another 3-pointer shortly thereafter and the Blue Devils led 9-0 after 90 seconds. Hopewell junior Malik Monds scored five first-quarter points in the paint and the Blue Devils led 22-9 at quarter’s end.

“It’s always good to get off to a good start because it builds confidence and momentum,” Simon said. “We were able to do that, and when you get off to a good start it gives you a cushion to work with if you start making mistakes.”

The miscues came for the Blue Devils, but the Eagles were unable to capitalize. Whereas Hopewell’s defensive pressure yielded a stream of turnovers in the first quarter, the strategy produced a steady of flow of fouls in the second.

But Chesterfield Community’s comeback bid was rendered toothless by an 8-of-15 showing from the foul line in the first half. Just as they did in the early going, the Blue Devils transitioned seamlessly from defense to offense in the second half.

Octavious Taylor’s steal and fast-break layup gave the home team its largest lead of the night at 55-28 with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Simon said the aggressive – and physically demanding – defensive gameplan gave him the opportunity to tap into his deep rotation of capable contributors.

“I really want to play guys,” Simon said. “That helps them play hard and it gives me the opportunity to play more guys. I just want them to hustle and apply pressure. The more pressure they apply, the better off we are.”

Buoyed by seven straight points from junior Trae Davis, Chesterfield Community whittled the deficit to 13 in the fourth quarter. Davis, who scored a transition layup at the third-quarter buzzer, knocked down a 15-foot jumper that made the score 61-48 with seven minutes remaining.

But the resurgence proved to be for naught as the Blue Devils cruised to a comfortable win. Davis led all scorers with 19 points while Anthony Arrington chipped in with an additional 15 for Chesterfield Community.

Hopewell, which lost all five of last year’s starters to graduation, churned out a well-rounded offensive performance. Tabyus Taylor posted a team-high 15 points while Saunders and Monds each finished with 12. Holloway and senior Donovan Ennis also reached double figures, registering 10 points apiece.

CCHS 9 15 19 19 – 62
HOPE 22 15 23 22 – 82

CCHS (0-1): Clayton 3, Mills 0, Towsend 9, Robinson 8, Davis 19, Brown 2, Wilkins 4, Arrington 15, Jordan 2. Totals: 20 21-36 62. 3-pointer: Robinson.

HOPE (1-0): Ennis 10, Holloway 10, Saunders 12, Smith 0, T. Taylor 15, O. Taylor 6, Boney 0, Fernandez 6, Spencer 0, K. Taylor 4, Witherspoon 0, Monds 12, D. Taylor 7. Totals: 29 17-27 82. 3-pointers: Holloway 2, Saunders 2, Ennis, T. Taylor, Fernandez.

TOURNAMENT HONORS LEGENDARY COACH

HOPEWELL – A new tradition was born on Tuesday at Hopewell High School.

Four high school boys basketball teams took to the court in Ledbetter Gymnasium for the first annual Bill Littlepage Tipoff tournament.

The inaugural field includes Hopewell, Chesterfield Community, Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) and Park View (South Hill).

Here is an abbreviated biography of the man for which the tournament is named:

* Winningest basketball coach in Virginia High School League Group AAA history

* Coached for 44 years at Hopewell High School, 47 in all

* One of two Virginia coaches to win more than 700 games

* Career record of 755-320

* Virginia Sports Hall of Famer

* Claimed 14 district tournament and 11 regular-season titles

* Won the 1972 state title

* Finished as state runner up in 1986 and 1996

* 1993 National Coach of the Year

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