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Waller, Knights Breeze by Cavaliers
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Dec 3, 2012, 21:19

Thomas Dale senior Kavon Waller (10) scored a game-high 28 points in a win over Caroline on Thursday in Chester (photo by Jacob Vaughan).


CHESTER – His team out front by 31 points, Thomas Dale boys basketball coach Eddie Goss called a timeout in the fourth quarter of a game against visiting Caroline on Thursday to lecture his reserve players about their decision making.

Depth, the veteran coach knows, will be a determining factor if the Knights are going to reach their lofty goals this season.

“We’re building,” Goss said. “With four starters back, we have to find the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.”

If this game was any indication, the search shouldn’t be too difficult. The Group AAA Knights were dominant in the paint and scored consistently in transition en route to a 79-47 victory over the Group AA Cavaliers.

Despite the lop-sided scoreline, the performance drew a mixed review from Goss, who tempered his praise with this caveat: The Knights are still a work in progress.

“We did OK,” Goss said. “We tried to rush the offense at times. But if we continue to run and play defense like we did tonight, we’ll get easy buckets and things will happen.”

The contest was part of the North-South Doubleheader, a two-day tournament at Thomas Dale that also included Henrico and Fork Union Military Academy.

Do-it-all senior Kavon Waller – a microcosm of his multifaceted team – paced the host school with 28 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists in three quarters of action.

“He’s always going to play well,” Goss said. “He’s tough, he’s our leader and he’s a three-year starter. We expect him to do what he’s doing.”

Caroline took its only lead of the game at 1-0, but Collin Fleischer put Thomas Dale out front for good with an offensive rebound and putback on the next trip down the floor. Still, the Cavaliers exuded charisma in the early going and matched the Knights shot for shot for the first seven minutes.

Aason Pankey put the visitors back on level terms with a contested 3-pointer that knotted the score at 14-14 with 50 seconds left in the opening frame, but things went awry for the Cavaliers immediately thereafter.

Thomas Dale closed the first quarter on a 6-0 tear and limited Caroline to six points in the second. Making matters worse for the Cavaliers, Waller overcame a sluggish start to score 12 points in the second period.

His 3-pointer from the right flank in the final seconds of the first half left him with 16 at the break and gave the home team a 41-20 lead.

“I started off slow,” Waller said. “I couldn’t get anything to fall, but Coach Goss just told me to slow down. When I did that, the shots started to fall.”

Thomas Dale sophomore Andrien White – whose brother, Andrew, is playing as a true freshman at the University of Kansas – tallied all of his 15 points in the frenetic first half.

The third quarter felt like a rerun of the second. Thomas Dale forced Caroline to settle for outside jumpers, and the Cavaliers’ once-redeeming shooting touch was nowhere to be found. The Knights continued to rebound to devastating effect and pilfered fast-break buckets with their up-tempo offense.

The lead peaked at 41 points before Caroline embarked on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter. Pankey led the Cavaliers with 15 points while Dre Parker notched a dozen more for the visitors.

Ten players scored for Thomas Dale in the game, and Fleischer spearheaded the team’s stout rebounding effort with his second 14-board performance in as many games. White chipped in with eight rebounds and five assists.

Thomas Dale (2-0) won its first two games with relative ease, but Games 3 and 4 pit the Knights against more formidable opponents. The team from Chester played host to Henrico on Friday and will meet cross-town rival L.C. Bird on Monday.

Beyond those season-opening contests, a full slate of Central District games looms large.

“Hopefully these four [non-district] games will build us toward that,” Goss said. “So we can really go after people.”

CHS: 14 6 9 18 – 47
TD: 20 21 23 15 – 79

CHS: Pankey 15, Morris 3, Freeman 2, Ware 4, Scott 5, Parker 12, Howard 4, Clipper 2.

TDHS (2-0): Smith 0, Terry 0, Williams 4, White 15, Waller 28, McCollum 2, Culmer 7, Fleischer 6, Tate 4, Barlow 0, Holliday 3, Snead 0, Kimenhour 0, Clark 4, Johnson 6.

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