Hopewell's Postmen Deliver Against Prince George
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 14, 2013, 12:17
Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor (center) drives the lane as Prince George seniors Shawn Broughton (left) and Malik Alexander (right) defend on Friday in Hopewell. Hopewell cruised to a 59-47 victory (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
HOPEWELL – Boasting a stable of sharpshooters, the Hopewell High School boys basketball team is primarily known for its ability to score from the perimeter.
Warranted as that reputation may be, Blue Devils coach Reggie Simon said his team is most dangerous when its frontcourt is at the forefront. Much to Prince George’s chagrin, Hopewell’s postmen delivered in a Central District game on Friday.
Anchored by the play of 6-foot-4 forwards Darrell
Hopewell sophomore Darrell Taylor scored 14 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots in a home victory over Prince George on Friday at Leadbetter Gymnasium (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
Taylor and Malik Monds, the Blue Devils cruised to a 59-47 victory over the visiting Royals at Leadbetter Gymnasium.
“We want to play from the inside out,” Simon said. “This was probably the best game that our interior men have played. They were actually finishing inside, and anytime we can make the defense concentrate on them, we’re going to get a better a shot from the outside.”
The Blue Devils built their double-digit cushion with a 17-5 run to close the first half and never led by fewer than the final margin in the second. Their lead peaked at 26 as they sauntered to a third straight win over their backyard rivals.
Monds gave the home team a lead it would never relinquish with an old fashioned three-point play on the first possession of the game.
The multi-faceted junior pushed the gap to 5-0 with a nifty spin move in the paint moments later and tacked on a floater and two free throws before the end of the first quarter.
“He had his full arsenal working for him tonight,” Simon said. “He had his spin move and his mid-range jumpshot going, and he’s valuable when he can play like that.”
Taylor followed suit by banking in a 10-foot jumper that left the Royals in a 7-0 hole. The duo accounted for 13 points in the opening frame, lifting the Blue Devils to a 20-13 lead at the onset of the second quarter.
With the Royals scrambling on defense to protect the interior, the Blue Devils found more room to operate on the perimeter. And they made good use of it. Tevin Holloway and Daniel Saunders connected on back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Blue Devils a 31-18 advantage with about three minutes left in the opening half.
Hopewell scored nine of the last 10 points in the first half, a run that produced a 33-18 edge at the intermission.
“I thought our post men did a great job early,” Simon said. “Malik Monds, Darrell Taylor and Tre’ Bryant started getting a lot of baskets inside, and we made some perimeter shots. I think that’s what really spearheaded us.”
Prince George junior Brian Fullman scored eight points in the first two quarters, but left the game with an injury in the third and didn’t return. His absence was noticeable as the Royals’ offensive woes worsened in the penultimate stanza.
Hopewell senior Octavious Taylor gave his team its largest lead of the night at 45-19 by rattling in a pull-up jumper from the elbow early in the third, but the Royals showed signs of life before quarter’s end. Eli Golden brought the Prince George faithful to their feet with a one-handed putback dunk in the final minute of the frame.
The 6-3 senior tacked on an emphatic block and transition layup in quick succession that gave the Royals a lift in spite of the lopsided scoreline.
Golden’s efforts sparked a 13-3 surge for the visitors, who outscored the hosts 19-11 in the fourth quarter.
“I wish we could have finished the game better,” Simon said. “The kids have to do a better job of maintaining focus.”
Prince George’s long-awaited rally came too late to matter, however, and Hopewell coasted to the final buzzer. Saunders and Darrell Taylor, both of whom are sophomores, paced the Blue Devils with 12 points apiece.
Darrell Taylor also grabbed eight rebounds and registered three blocks while Monds poured in 10 points and pulled down five boards. Simon described Darrell Taylor as a prototypical post presence and tabbed Monds as a player capable of doing a little bit of everything.
“Most big men aren’t versatile,” Monds said. “It just makes it harder for defenders to check me. I’m working towards becoming a guard in the future.”
Senior point guard Dre Strickland – the only Royals player to score in double figures – converted a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers to finish with 11 points. Fullman and freshman Savonte Chappell chipped in with eight apiece.
Prince George (2-6 in district play, 5-10 overall) will look to bounce back at home against Dinwiddie on Tuesday.
Hopewell (5-3, 10-5) will shift its gaze to a key week that pits the team against fifth-place Meadowbrook on Tuesday and league-leading Thomas Dale on Friday. The fourth-ranked Blue Devils will either be firmly in the title race by week’s end, or firmly out of it.
“Our goal is to try to get ourselves back into a position where we have a chance to win the district,” Simon said. “We just have to take care of business the best that we can.”
PGHS: 13 5 10 19 – 47
HHS: 20 13 15 11 – 59
PRINCE GEORGE: Strickland 11, Ramsey 0, Alexander 2, Broughton 6, Conwell 1, Williams 0, Fullman 6, Golden 8, Wright 0, Chappell 8, Marks 0, Richardson 2, Rose 3, Sally 0. Totals: 20 5-13 47. 3-pointers: Strickland 2.
HOPEWELL: Ennis 2, Holloway 5, Saunders 12, Smith 0, T. Taylor 2, O. Taylor 8, Boney 0, Fernandez 0, Spencer 0, K. Taylor 1, Witherspoon 0, Monds 10, Bryant 7, D. Taylor 12. Totals: 23 10-22 59. 3-pointers: Saunders 2, Holloway.