Fort Lee Roundup: Wave Finds 7th Heaven
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 2, 2013, 13:17
Petersburg junior Gevon Arrington (2) converts a layup against Varina in the Fort Lee Holiday Tournament championship on Saturday at the MacLaughlin Center (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
FORT LEE – The Petersburg High School boys basketball team breathed new life into an old sports adage on Saturday at Fort Lee’s MacLaughlin Center.
Defense wins championships, and the Crimson Wave players should certainly know that by now. Petersburg laid claim to its seventh consecutive Fort Lee Holiday Tournament title by stringing together a series of fourth-quarter defensive stands to vanquish Varina, 67-60, in the final.
“We just ground it out,” said Petersburg coach Rick Hite. “One stop at a time, I thought we did a great job of that.”
The Crimson Wave broke to a 13-4 lead in the opening quarter, but the Blue Devils reeled the reigning champs back in with a 14-2 run that gave them their first lead at 20-19 early in the second.
The fiercely contested first half featured three ties, five lead changes, two technical fouls – one per team – and 22 total infractions. When it ended, Varina led 31-29.
Petersburg reversed the narrow deficit in the second half behind nine points from Gevon Arrington and eight from Frankie Barksdale. The Crimson Wave constructed their decisive margin with a 16-8 burst that started midway through the third quarter.
Brandon Ingram finished with 13 points to pace Varina (9-3).
Arrington scored 18 points and Barksdale 13 for Petersburg, which improved to 6-3. Barksdale, a Dinwiddie transfer, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
On the strength of its multifaceted offense and air-tight defense, Petersburg advanced to the championship game of the Fort Lee Holiday Tournament by routing Prince George 60-37 at the MacLaughlin Center on Friday.
The Crimson Wave never trailed and broke the all-Central District semifinal wide open by forcing the Royals to play at a breakneck pace.
“I thought we played hard, especially on the defensive end,” said Rick Hite, Petersburg’s second-year coach. “That was kind of the difference. We wanted to contest every shot, box out at every opportunity and get enough baskets to get out front. I thought we did that.”
Petersburg senior Frankie Barksdale led all scorers with 14 points while Gevon Arrington chipped in with 11 for the Crimson Wave. Nine players scored for Petersburg.
“We don’t have a guy that we can throw it to for 30 points,” Hite said. “So we have to take advantage of defensive stops and transition baskets.”
Prince George senior Dre Strickland drained three 3-pointers and racked up 12 points, but the Royals were forced to finish the game without the services of their leading scorer, Shawn Broughton. The senior guard fouled out in the early stages of the second half.
PRINCE GEORGE: Strickland 12, Ramsey 0, Alexander 2, Broughton 4, Conwell 0, Williams 2, Fullman 3, Golden 2, Wright 2, Chappell 2, Marks 1, Richardson 2, Rose 3, Sally 2. Totals: 13 8-19 37. 3-pointers: Strickland 3.
VARINA 68, HOPEWELL 51
Hopewell started strong and rolled to a five-point halftime lead over Varina in the first of two semifinal games on Friday.
A berth in Saturday’s championship game looked increasingly likely. Then, without warning, the wheels fell off.
Varina outscored Hopewell 17-8 in the third quarter and 24-11 in the fourth to claim a 68-51 victory at the MacLaughlin Center. Hopewell racked up nine steals and nine assists in the first half, but those numbers tapered off dramatically in the third and fourth quarters.
“We played with a lot of energy early in the game,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “I thought we made good decisions and played really hard. “But as the game progressed, we didn’t make the same decisions and I thought our energy level decreased.”
Hopewell’s lackluster performance was compounded by poor shot selection and exploited by Varina’s willingness to run the floor in transition. The loss put an end to Hopewell’s three-game winning streak.
Chris Rhem led Varina in scoring. The senior guard finished with 14 points while junior Dexter Dowling chipped in with 11.
Hopewell sophomore Daniel Saunders equaled Dowling’s output and junior Tabyus Taylor posted eight points and seven rebounds.