White, Knights Cruise Past Royals
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 4, 2013, 21:34
Prince George senior Shawn Broughton (bottom) takes a charge from Thomas Dale junior A.J. Holliday (shooting) during a game on Wednesday in Chester (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
CHESTER – Like his brother and father before him, Andrien White is making a name for himself in the Central District’s storied gymnasiums.
The latest example came on Wednesday, when the 6-foot-2 sophomore racked up a game-high 23 points, five assists and five steals to lead the Thomas Dale boys basketball team to a 75-59 district victory over visiting Prince George.
Such offensive outpourings have become increasingly commonplace at the Chester-based school, and those who know White’s family history are far from surprised.
Andrien’s older brother, Andrew White III, was a three-year standout for the Knights and is now a contributing freshman at the University of Kansas. Their father, Andrew White Jr., starred at Petersburg High School in the 1970s.
As tough as those acts are to follow, Andrien White said he is determined to leave his own mark. “I feel pressure all the time,” he said. “But if I just keep playing my game, I think it’ll come for me.”
It certainly did against the Royals.
White overcame a cold start from the floor by draining a pair of first-half 3-pointers, one of which came with five seconds remaining in the second quarter and provided the Knights with a 40-27 lead at the break.
Thomas Dale coach Eddie Goss said White’s production takes some of the offensive burden off senior Kavon Waller’s shoulders.
“He’s getting better,” Goss said of White. “He still doesn’t understand some things that we’re trying to do. Once he gets that understanding down a little bit better, he’s really going to become a player.”
Waller, who leads the team in scoring, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds against Prince George, but the visitors managed to keep things close for most of the first half.
The Royals scored the first five points and led for the majority of the first quarter before Waller leveled the score at 15-15 with a contested 3-pointer from the left side.
Another long-distance offering from Waller gave the Knights an 18-15 edge in the early stages of the second quarter. The home team never trailed again.
The Knights outscored the Royals 25-12 in the second stanza, using their trademark zone defense and a newfound offensive rhythm to construct a 13-5 run to finish the half.
“In the last three minutes of the first half, I thought we came to life a little bit,” Goss said. “We just kind of took over by executing and playing a little bit more aggressive on defense. I thought that gave us the break.”
The Royals trailed by as many as 17 in the third quarter, but senior Shawn Broughton singlehandedly put Prince George back in contention with three unanswered field goals in the last 90 seconds.
Prince George junior Brian Fullman knocked down a baseline runner to reduce the deficit to 59-50 early in the fourth quarter, but Waller and White put the contest out of reach by combining to score 12 of the next 15 points.
“We feed of each other,” White said of his teammate in the backcourt. “He picks me up and I pick him up. We’re together — everybody on this team is a family. That’s just how we play.”
Fullman paced Prince George with 15 points while Broughton and senior Dre Strickland poured in 11 and 14, respectively. The loss was the third in as many games for Prince George, which finished fourth in the annual Fort Lee Holiday Tournament.
The result relegated the Royals to 4-8 overall, 1-4 in district play.
“We have to bring it defensively, we have to bring the intensity and we have to play hard,” said Prince George coach Dave Hettinger. “Fundamental, physical basketball is what it’s going to take to win in our league. We’re not doing that right now, so we have to improve.”
Thomas Dale guard Joe Smith scored seven in the second quarter and four in the fourth to finish with 11. Junior forward Collin Fleischer grabbed nine rebounds to go along with his six points, and A.J. Holliday accounted for eight of the team’s 21 assists.
With the victory, the Knights improved to 4-1 in district outings (6-3 overall) and remained in a tie with Petersburg atop the district standings.
Meadowbrook, Matoaca and Hopewell are all lurking one game off the pace, prompting Goss to call the district race “as wide open as it’s ever been.”
Still, the veteran coach likes his team’s chances.
“I think this team is at the door,” Goss said. “We just have to open the door and step through to be special.”
PGHS: 15 12 19 13 – 59
TDHS: 15 25 17 18 – 75
PRINCE GEORGE (1-4, 4-8): Strickland 14, Alexander 0, Broughton 11, Williams 2, Fullman 15, Golden 1, Wright 2, Chappell 6, Rose 4, Sally 4. Totals: 24 8-14 59. 3-pointers: Strickland 2, Broughton 1.
THOMAS DALE (4-1, 6-3): Smith 11, Terry 6, Williams 2, White 23, Waller 19, McCollum 0, Fleischer 6, Tate 0, Holliday 0, Clark 8 Johnson 0. Totals: 31 6-10 75. 3-pointers: Terry 2, White 2, Waller 2, Smith.