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Hopewell Edges Stonewall Jackson in Tourney Finale
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Dec 3, 2012, 21:32

The Hopewell High School boys basketball team celebrates after winning the inaugural Bill Littlepage Tipoff tournament on Wednesday. The tournament hosts prevailed over visiting Stonewall Jackson in the championship game (photo by Jacob Vaughan).


HOPEWELL – The trophy case at Hopewell High School is rapidly running out of real estate.

Less than one week after the Hopewell football team laid claim to the Central Region Division 5 runner-up trophy, the Blue Devils basketball squad started the season by winning some hardware of its own on Wednesday.

Hopewell took the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining and held on for a 71-68 victory over visiting Stonewall Jackson in the championship game of the inaugural Bill Littlepage Tipoff tournament.

Malik Monds – who seconds earlier took a timely charge on the defensive end – provided the go-ahead bucket as the host team prevailed in the season-opening competition named for its revered former coach.

“Anytime you’re playing in a tournament in your gymnasium, you want to win,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon, who replaced Littlepage in 2007. “Especially when it carries the name of our legendary coach Bill Littlepage.

“With this being the first tournament, we really wanted to make sure we played hard and did our best to secure the win.”

That they did, though their aptly named counterparts made sure it wasn’t easy. Stonewall Jackson matched Hopewell’s signature defensive pressure and scored repeatedly in transition, making the game a frenetic matchup of mirror-image teams.

“I told our guys before the game, ‘We have very similar styles,’” Simon said. “‘We have to see whose will is going to be imposed.’ They are a very good team and we needed to see where we are.”

Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor led all scorers with 23 points, but Stonewall Jackson senior Mustafa Ali had the hot hand in the early going. The 6-1 guard scored his team’s first six points, including a coast-to-coast layup that gave the Raiders a 6-5 edge.
Hopewell sophomore Daniel Saunders cuts to the basket against Stonewall Jackson on Wednesday in Hopewell (photo by Jacob Vaughan).

Ali’s three-point play in the paint pushed the gap to 17-12 with 1:22 remaining in the opening quarter, but Hopewell reduced the deficit to one by quarter’s end.

Both teams favored the full-court press for the duration of the first half. The result was a back-and-forth contest with no clear frontrunner.

The Raiders led by as many as nine in the second quarter, but Taylor put the Blue Devils out front with a series of slashing drives to the basket. The 6-1 forward racked up 10 points in the second quarter and Hopewell led 40-38 at the break.

Simon said Taylor’s aggressiveness added a dimension to an offense that had previously been reliant on contested jump shots.

“That opened up the game a great deal,” Simon said. “They were overplaying at times and Tabyus is very good at getting to the basket. And he was finishing, so I think that really put them on their heels.”

Sophomore Daniel Saunders scored 10 points in the third quarter, knocking down five of six free throws along the way to give Hopewell a 57-49 lead at the onset of the fourth. But the Raiders showed their reluctance to settle for silver down the stretch.

Ali opened the final frame with a 3-pointer from the left side that cut the gap to five. That shot spurred a 14-6 run for Stonewall Jackson, and Marcus Farber drained another trey from the right side to tie the game at 63-63 with the clock showing 4:19.

Taylor responded with a nifty turn and layup after a brief stint of scorelessness, but Ali answered back once more by converting a short runner in the lane that pulled the Raiders level.

Scorer turned provider seconds later when Ali kicked the ball out to Keonte Dennis, who knocked down a 15-foot jumper that gave the Raiders a 68-67 edge with 59 seconds left.

Cue Monds’ game-winning sequence.

The 6-4 junior took a charge with 41 seconds remaining and – after turnovers at either end – scored when Taylor found him with a savvy dish. Taylor drove into the paint and waited for Monds’ defender to commit before dumping the ball off to his wide-open teammate.

“I knew [the defender] was going to try to take a charge this time,” Taylor said. “So I knew Malik was going to be open on the other side. All I had to do was dish it off to him.”

The basket was Monds’ only field goal of the game. Simon said Taylor’s earlier success laid the foundation for the final bucket.

“Tabyus had been playing well,” Simon said. “So they probably knew we were going to him, but he made a great decision to pass the ball to Malik.”

Trailing 71-68, the Raiders managed to create an open look from beyond the arc in the waning seconds, but the game-tying attempt rimmed out as the final buzzer sounded. Ali led Stonewall Jackson (1-1) with 21 points while Farber and J.R. Washington tallied 13 apiece.

For the Blue Devils, Saunders and senior Tevin Holloway complimented Taylor’s stellar showing with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Hopewell (2-0) is next in action on Tuesday in the team’s Central District opener against rival Prince George.

“It’s a district game, so that makes it important,” Simon said. “And Prince George is our backyard rival, so we want to go down there and play good basketball.”

In the consolation game, Park View (South Hill) trailed 15-6 at the end of the first quarter but outscored Chesterfield Community 25-7 in the second.

The momentum-aided Patriots went on to claim third-place honors in comfortable fashion, cruising to a 59-44 victory at Hopewell High School.

Kaleb Johnson keyed the turnaround by pouring in 21 points for Park View. His game-high tally included a trio of 3-pointers. Trae Davis and Ryan Brown led Chesterfield Community with nine points apiece.

SJHS: 17 21 11 19 – 68
HHS: 16 24 17 14 – 71

SJHS (1-1): Stubbs 4, Berchie 8, Stroman 0, Farber 13, Ali 21, Judson 0, Thornton 0, Washington 13, Dennis 9. Totals: 27 9-17 68. 3-pointers: Farber 3, Ali, Washington.

HHS (2-0): Ennis 7, Holloway 11, Saunders 16, T. Taylor 23, O. Taylor 1, Fernandez 2, Monds 5, D. Taylor 6. Totals: 25 16-25 71. 3-pointers: Holloway 2, Ennis, Saunders, T. Taylor.

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CCHS: 15 7 11 11 – 44
PVHS: 6 25 9 19 – 59

CCHS (0-2): Clayton 8, Towsend 2, Davis 9, Brown 9, Wilkins 8, Arrington 4, Jordan 4. Totals: 16 10-22 44. 3-pointers: Davis, Brown.

PVHS (1-1): Brown 7, D. Smith 6, Previtine 5, Studivant 2, Patterson 8, Claiborne 1, Johnson 21, Stanley 0, Williams 4, Feggins 5. Totals: 21 13-22 59. 3-pointers: Johnson 3, Brown.

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