Petersburg Holds Off Hopewell
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 7, 2013, 16:53
PETERSBURG – The Petersburg High School boys basketball team overcame a sluggish start and staved off Hopewell’s last-minute comeback bid to earn a 57-53 home victory at William Lawson Jr. Gymnasium on Friday.
The win keeps the reigning Central Region
Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor (20) looks for a teammate on the perimeter during a Central District game against Petersburg on Friday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
champions tied with Thomas Dale atop the Central District standings. With the loss, Hopewell fell two games off the frontrunners’ pace.
But things could easily have gone differently, according to Crimson Wave coach Rick Hite. “They wore us down,” Hite said. “We were lucky to get out of here with a four-point victory.”
Frankie Barksdale and Gevon Arrington paced the home team’s death-by-a-thousand-cuts offense by combining to score 31 points, but Hite said the win was sculpted on the defensive end.
“We don’t have a primetime, legitimate scorer,” Hite said. “We have to create offense using defense.”
Hopewell broke to a 12-6 lead behind seven points from Tabyus Taylor and five from Octavious Taylor, who accrued a game-high 18 points by game’s end.
Arrington cut the gap to 15-14 with a three-point play in the paint, but senior shooting guard Donovan Ennis knocked down a 10-foot jump shot that gave the visitors a 17-14 edge at the first-quarter buzzer.
Hite said his team’s inability to track Hopewell’s scorers helped the Blue Devils construct their early lead.
“We lost their shooters in transition,” Hite said. “They have so many shooters. We tried to concentrate on [Daniel] Saunders and then Tabyus hit a 3. When we concentrated on Tabyus, Octavious hit one.”
Hopewell’s hot-handedness tapered off in the second quarter, however, and didn’t return until the fourth. With 5:32 remaining in the opening half, Barksdale – a Dinwiddie transfer – canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key that provided Petersburg with its first lead at 20-19.
Tabyus Taylor knotted the score at 22-22 with his second 3-pointer of the game, but the offensive production ground to a standstill immediately thereafter.
Neither team attacked the basket with any frequency in the first half, choosing instead to settle for jumpers from the perimeter. That tactic favored the trigger-happy Blue Devils, who took a 26-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We settled for a lot of 3s early,” Hite said. “I told them that they had to be more aggressive. I don’t mind us shooting 3s, but I don’t want that to be the first look.”
Boosted by five unanswered points from Barksdale, the Crimson Wave scored the first nine of the second half. Suddenly trailing 36-24, Octavious Taylor interrupted the surge with a much-needed 3-pointer. Hopewell senior Tevin Holloway tacked on a three-point play moments later, but those were Hopewell’s only two field goals of the third quarter.
Petersburg led the low-scoring affair 40-32 at the onset of the fourth.
“I thought the game came down to us getting stops, especially in the third,” Hite said.
Petersburg threatened to blow the game open in the final stanza. Senior Marius Watson’s three-point play capped a 31-14 burst and gave the Crimson Wave their largest lead of the evening at 56-40 with 2:07 remaining.
The result appeared to be a foregone conclusion.
Armed with a never-say-die attitude and fueled by a relentless full-court press, the Blue Devils hoisted themselves back into contention down the stretch by assembling a 13-1 closing run.
But the last-ditch resurgence fell agonizingly short.
Barksdale drained Petersburg’s only two 3-pointers en route to his team-high 16 points. A picture of efficiency, Arrington’s 15 points came in a 7-of-10 shooting performance. The 6-foot-3 swingman also hauled in a game-high nine rebounds.
Petersburg (8-3 overall, 5-1 in district play) will return to action on Tuesday at Thomas Dale. The winner of that game will have sole possession of first place in the district.
Tabyus Taylor notched 14 points and five rebounds for Hopewell (8-5, 3-3) while Darrell Taylor spearheaded the Blue Devils’ interior efforts with five points, six boards and five assists.
While the Blue Devils’ best efforts did not yield a victory, the visitors did leave a lasting impression on Petersburg’s second-year coach.
“Hopewell typifies good high school basketball,” Hite said. “They fight tooth and nail. It starts with their seniors and their young guys follow right behind them. Coach [Reggie] Simon’s approach is to get after it.”
Hopewell will look to snap a two-game losing streak at home against Dinwiddie on Tuesday.
HHS: 17 9 6 21 – 53
PHS: 14 11 15 17 – 57
HOPEWELL: Ennis 8, Holloway 3, Saunders 0, T. Taylor 14, O. Taylor 18, Fernandez 0, K. Taylor 0, Monds 4, Bryant 1, D. Taylor 5. Totals: 18 11-19 53. 3-pointers: Ennis 2, T. Taylor 2, O. Taylor 2.