Working Overtime: Dale Outlasts Matoaca
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Dec 10, 2012, 16:46
Thomas Dale junior A.J. Holliday (center) dishes to a teammate under the basket during a Central District game against Matoaca on Friday in Chester. The Knights won the back-and-forth contest 54-52 in overtime (photo by David Breidenbach).
CHESTER – Collin Fleischer’s wild and crazy night on the basketball court helped propel Thomas Dale to a 54-52 overtime win over visiting Matoaca in a thrilling Central District clash on Friday.
Fleischer’s scoring line tells only part of the story.
He finished with 14 rebounds, 12 points and three stitches. But above and beyond the double-double, his inside-the-paint defense against Matoaca’s man-mountain B.J. Allen will long be remembered by the home team.
After Allen picked up his fourth foul, the Knights made an effort to work the ball down low to Fleischer to try to force Allen to foul out of the game. Allen, who scored 14 points, survived regulation but picked up his fifth and disqualifying foul in the extra period.
“I knew he had four going in, and he was doing good,” Fleischer said. “So, especially in overtime, we were trying to get him to foul.”
Thomas Dale junior Collin Fleischer (14) shoots over Matoaca’s B.J. Allen on Friday in Chester (photo by David Breidenbach).
With the win, the Knights improved to 4-2 overall, and 2-0 in district play while the Warriors fell to 0-2 on both fronts.
Fleischer nearly didn’t make it to the second half himself.
Late in the first half, he grabbed a rebound under Matoaca’s basket and fell victim to an over-the-back foul from Resean Bolton. Fleischer fell to the floor, slammed his head on the court and picked up a cut over his right eye.
Bolton was ejected for the flagrant foul, but the Knights played out the half with Fleischer in the locker room getting stitched up.
When the junior forward took the court to open the second half, you would never have known anything happened to him. Down the stretch, when the Knights needed it most, it was Fleischer who got things going.
“He’s tough as a rock,” said Thomas Dale coach Eddie Goss. “He gets the flagrant foul, that’s the way he plays. That’s his effort — all out — he gives you everything he’s got. If I go to him and tell him, ‘Collin we need a rebound,’ he’s the guy to get it.”
The game was close throughout. The first half saw both teams engineer a few scoring runs, but the second half produced more lead changes than the Westminster Kennel Club show.
There were at least 10 lead changes in the final 16 minutes, and neither team had a distinct advantage right down to the end of regulation play.
If there was a slight advantage, it may have been in favor of the Knights due to chemistry. Several of the players have been on teams together since middle school, center Kavon Waller said. He and Fleischer, A.J. Holliday and Niles Tate have all played together for a long time.
So going into the OT, he and his teammates felt pretty good about their chances.
“Once we locked down on defense and ran the offense like we did, I knew we would win it,” Waller said.
Waller, Holliday, and sophomore Andrien White kept the game close in regulation, often coming up with a much-needed play or a timely rebound. Waller finished with 17 points and 10 boards and White canned 14 for the Knights.
One possession after Fleischer gave the Knights a three-point lead in overtime, Holliday brought the ball upcourt and threaded a pass to Waller on the left side of the arc. Waller drained a 3-pointer to put the Knights up by six with only a minute to play and it seemed like the battle might be over.
“Kavon scored points, he made plays and he got rebounds,” Goss said. “He’s an all-around player. He and A.J. [Holliday] keep the team together.”
Even down by six, however, Matoaca did not give up.
Devin Morgan, who scored five points in OT, kept things close. With seven seconds left and his team down by five, he hoisted a trey from the arc to cut the lead to two points.
But as it often does in a good game, time ran out for the Warriors. Morgan’s 16 points and eight assists led the Warriors, Allen hit for double digits with 14 and Rashad Lewis pulled down nine boards.
Waller’s 17 points led all scorers, White added 14 and Fleischer had 12 for the Knights. Holliday had seven rebounds and six assists for Thomas Dale.
Thomas Dale is back in action on Tuesday against Hopewell, a 78-75 winner over Meadowbrook on Friday.
MHS: 15 11 12 7 7 – 52
TDHS: 10 18 11 6 9 – 54
MATOACA (0-2, 0-2 Central) — Markland 2, Armstrong 6, Lewis 4, Morgan 16, Bolton 8, Brown 2, Faison 0, Allen 14. Totals 20 6-11 52. 3-pointers: Morgan 4, Bolton 2.
THOMAS DALE (4-2, 2-0) — Smith 2, White 14, Waller 17, Fleischer 12, Holliday 3, Clark 3, Johnson 0. Totals 16 18-27 54. 3-pointers: Waller 2, Holliday, White.