Knights Drop Colonials With Late Surge
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 11, 2013, 16:15
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — The newcomers on the Thomas Dale girls basketball team outnumber the mainstays by a not-so-narrow margin, and the Knights’ inexperience has made for some growing pains so far this season.
Still, the team’s progress has been undeniable,
Thomas Dale senior Kazhana Joyce pulls up for a jumpshot in a Central District game against Colonial Heights on Thursday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
according to coach Kevin Coffey.
“We’re a young team,” Coffey said. “There’s a whole lot that they haven’t realized yet. Slowly but surely, it’s coming along.”
Baby steps turned into leaps and bounds on Thursday as Thomas Dale surged past Colonial Heights to claim a 44-25 road victory.
The Knights saw their lead shrink to two points in the fourth quarter before assembling a 19-2 run that put the Central District contest well out of reach.
Makeese Bell, who led Thomas Dale with 20 points, singlehandedly outscored the Colonials in the final frame. The junior racked up 11 points in the last eight minutes to fuel Thomas Dale’s finishing kick, which began immediately after Colonial Heights senior Beth Laughlin cut the deficit to 25-23 on a pair of free throws with 6:45 remaining.
Coffey said the clinching burst was spurred by composure on the offensive end.
“We finally got patient enough on offense,” Coffey said. “We started looking before we started dribbling. Then we started getting open shots and, more importantly, we started getting second-chance opportunities.”
Just as Bell laid claim to the fourth quarter, Kazhana Joyce buoyed the Knights in the second. Joyce accounted for all 10 of the Knights’ points in the stanza, which started with the Colonials clinging to a one-point edge.
Joyce eased into her barrage with a layup that gave Thomas Dale a 10-9 lead. She knocked down a 10-foot jumpshot on the next trip down the floor and showed her prowess from the perimeter by draining a pair of 3-pointers before the end of the first half.
Ignited by her efforts, the Knights led 18-13 at the break.
“She found her niche today and rolled with it,” Coffey said of Joyce. “I said, ‘If she’s hot, keep feeding her the ball. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.’”
If anything needed tinkering in this game, it was the home team’s shooting touch.
Colonial Heights, which hit nine 3-pointers in one game earlier this season, managed only two makes from beyond the arc against Thomas Dale. Without their normally redemptive perimeter game firing on all cylinders, the Colonials sputtered on the offensive end.
“I’m responsible for the things that happen out there,” said Colonial Heights coach Jim Crinkley. “We cut the wrong way, we didn’t feed the ball where it was supposed to go and we didn’t shoot well. I think we got good open looks, but we did not shoot well.”
Sophomore point guard Lindsey Nowland paced the Colonials with 12 points while Laughlin chipped in with seven. Colonial Heights, which fell to 1-7 in district play (3-10 overall), will travel to face top-seeded Meadowbrook on Tuesday.
For Thomas Dale (5-3, 5-7) Joyce stepped off the court at game’s end with 14 points. Coffey identified the senior as the team’s leader and credited the smooth-operating guard for playing out of position to help her teammates.
“She is a shooting guard,” Coffey said. “We just don’t have a point guard, which is why she plays the point.”
Thomas Dale will play host to Matoaca on Tuesday in a game laced with big-picture implications. The Knights and Warriors have been jostling for position in the district standings for most of the season.
“We’re just going to take it one game at a time,” Coffey said. “And build on what we’ve accomplished.”
TDHS: 8 10 7 19 — 44
CHHS: 9 4 8 4 — 25
THOMAS DALE (5-7, 5-3): Flowers 0, Joyce 14, Waring 0, Millard 2. Monroe 4, Bell 20, Banks 4. Totals: 17 6-10 44. 3-pointers: Bell 2, Joyce 2.