Blue Devils Hold Off Monarchs
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Dec 10, 2012, 16:15
The Hopewell High School boys basketball team huddles during the fourth quarter of a home game against Meadowbrook on Friday. The Blue Devils won 78-75 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
HOPEWELL – Two days after his team sustained its first loss of the season, Hopewell coach Reggie Simon was eager to see how the young group would rebound.
Both figuratively and literally.
“I’d rather see rebounding than scoring any day,” Simon said. “Scoring is important, but we need somebody that’s going to take rebounding personally.”
The Blue Devils found that somebody in Darrell Taylor. Buoyed by nine offensive rebounds from the 6-4 sophomore, Hopewell held on to edge visiting Meadowbrook 78-75 in a Central District game on Friday in Leadbetter Gymnasium.
As for the scoring, four Hopewell players reached double figures. Sophomore Daniel Saunders led the balanced attack with 16 points while Tabyus Taylor, Octavious Taylor and Darrell Taylor finished with 14, 13 and 13, respectively.
“We have a number of guys that can score in the halfcourt and in transition,” Simon said. “Most nights Tabyus Taylor will be our leading scorer, but not all nights. We have other guys that are very capable scorers.”
Darrell Taylor finished with 16 boards in all, but his last two were the most meaningful. With less than a minute remaining, the first-year varsity player snagged a rebound off a teammate’s missed free throw and went back up to attempt a putback.
Hopewell sophomore Darrell Taylor tallied 13 points and 16 rebounds in a 78-75 win over Meadowbrook on Friday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
His initial shot took a less-than-friendly roll off the front of the rim, but he corralled his own miss and finished with authority to push Hopewell’s lead to 78-73.
“Offensive rebounding was the major difference in the game,” Simon said. “In the last minute, we got a couple that helped secure the win for us.”
Meadowbrook made the faster start and led by as many as six in the opening quarter, but Octavious Taylor drained a 3-pointer and a fade-away jumper in the final minute to reduce the deficit to 22-21 at quarter’s end.
The Blue Devils built a six-point lead by scoring the first seven of the second, but the Monarchs pulled to within two on a fast-break layup from Khalil Harding, who led all first-half scorers with 12 points.
In turn, Hopewell sophomore Isaiah Fernandez knocked down a short jumper on the next trip down the floor, sparking a 7-0 run for the Blue Devils that made the score 35-26.
A back-and-forth third quarter saw Hopewell’s lead peak at 11 before Meadowbrook pieced together a 15-4 run that produced a 55-55 deadlock. The rally was fueled by Hopewell turnovers that resulted in fast-break baskets for Meadowbrook.
“We just have to be more patient,” Simon said. “Too often, we rush when we don’t need to. When we seemingly had the game in control, we turned the ball over with our poor decision making.”
But while the Monarchs finally succeeded in catching the Blue Devils, they were unable to overtake them. Saunders put the home team back out front with a pair of free throws and Donovan Ennis drained a double-clutch jumper that bolstered the newly restored advantage.
The final frame began with Hopewell clinging to a 59-55 lead and was characterized by frenetic play at both ends of the floor. Turnovers grew in frequency, as did fouls. The two teams combined to take a staggering 54 foul shots on the night.
Meadowbrook junior Brandon Cheeks had an opportunity to tie the game from the charity stripe after he absorbed contact from a Hopewell defender and converted a tough shot in transition, but the ensuing free throw was off the mark.
The miss proved to be a costly one for Meadowbrook.
With Hopewell leading 71-70, Saunders rattled in a 3-pointer from the left side that pushed the cushion to four on the next trip down the floor.
“That was very critical,” Simon said of the four-point swing. “One of the reasons I put [Saunders] back in the game was that I knew that he’s one of our clutch performers. If he takes his time and he’s open, he’s going to make that shot.”
Cheeks and Octavious Taylor scored negating buckets off dribble drives, and Darrell Taylor’s third-chance stickback left Meadowbrook trailing by five with 55 seconds left.
Still, the Monarchs managed to pull within three in the dying embers of the game and found themselves with an opportunity to inbound the ball from Hopewell’s baseline with 1.4 seconds on the clock.
A Meadowbrook player caught the ensuing inbound pass with his right foot out of bounds, however, and Hopewell staved off the comeback bid.
“I think the guys played great,” Simon said. “We just have to make better decisions. I think this is a tremendous win because Meadowbrook is one of the top teams in the district.”
Hardy finished with a game-high 21 points while Cheeks and junior Terelle Whitaker combined to score 22 for Meadowbrook.
The Monarchs fell to 1-1 overall and in district play.
With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 4-1 overall (2-0 district). Hopewell is next in action on Tuesday against Thomas Dale, a 54-52 overtime winner over Matoaca on Friday.
“The district is open right now for anybody,” Octavious Taylor said. “We’re going to be there at the end.”
HOPEWELL (4-1, 2-0): Donovan Ennis 7, Tevin Holloway 0, Daniel Saunders 16, Tabyus Taylor 14, Octavious Taylor 13, Isaiah Fernandez 2, Keion Taylor 9, Malik Monds 4, Darrell Taylor 13. Totals: 28 17-34 78. 3-pointers: Saunders 2, T. Taylor 2, O. Taylor.