Balance Buoys Prince George in Rout of Dinwiddie
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 17, 2013, 15:09
Prince George senior Shawn Broughton (21) pulls up for a jumpshot as Dinwiddie's Jaquan Poarch (33) defends during a Central District game on Tuesday in Prince George. The Royals never trailed en route to a 72-58 victory (photo by David Breidenbach).
PRINCE GEORGE - First place in the Central District standings was not at stake when the Prince George and Dinwiddie boys basketball teams took the court on Tuesday.
Neither was a spot in the district tournament, since all eight teams will receive a bid this year. Rather, sole possession of sixth place was up for grabs in the midseason matchup.
Prince George senior Malik Alexander (center) fights for possession with three Dinwiddie defenders during a Central District game on Tuesday (photo by David Breidenbach).
That was all the motivation Prince George needed.
The Royals surged to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never faltered, turning back the district's southernmost team to win 72-58 at home. The victory gave Prince George a season sweep of Dinwiddie, thereby improving the team’s postseason prospects.
"That's huge," said Prince George coach Dave Hettinger. "We're battling with them for seeding, so any spot you can get is a good one. We weren't playing for first and second, but we were playing for sixth and seventh. That's something."
At times this season, Prince George has had the look of a team in search of an identity. No such crisis was evident in this outing.
Senior guards Shawn Broughton and Dre Strickland patrolled the perimeter with authority while forwards Brian Fullman and Savonte Chappell dictated the play in the paint.
All four scored in double figures, and the resulting balance proved to be too much for the cold-shooting Generals to handle. Prince George's widespread offensive production sits in stark contrast to the team's early-season outings, which saw Broughton and Strickland shoulder the brunt of the scoring burden.
"Hopefully that's going to make us better," Hettinger said. "Because now instead of just guarding two players, the defense has two or three others out there that they have to pay attention to."
Six Prince George players scored in the first quarter alone, nine by halftime. Chappell gave the home team a 12-5 advantage with consecutive putbacks midway through the opening frame.
Strickland's step-back 3-pointer culminated in the Royals' largest lead of the first half (38-21), but the Generals whittled the deficit to a baker's dozen by the intermission. Dinwiddie did most of its first-half bidding from the foul line, where it converted 11 of 19 attempts.
The holding pattern persisted in the third quarter. Prince George never led by more than 18 or fewer than 13 in the penultimate frame, which concluded with the Royals up 55-42.
Dinwiddie coach Chip McCoull said poor shooting prevented his team from mounting a comeback. "If we hit a couple shots, all of a sudden it's a six-point game," he said. "Then we would have had a shot at it."
Like the third, the fourth quarter was marked by parity. Five times Dinwiddie scored to cut the gap to 11 and five times the Royals responded to restore their 13-point advantage. The home team erased any lingering doubts with a 9-0 run that produced a 20-point edge with 1:19 remaining.
Dinwiddie senior Dashaun Coleman - who finished with a game-high 24 points - scored three unanswered buckets in the final minute, but the run was purely cosmetic. Jourdan Winfield and Joe Lewis chipped in with 10 apiece for the Generals, who fell to 2-8 in district play (5-10 overall).
Broughton paced the Royals with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Strickland drained a pair of 3s en route to 14 points. Chappell and Fullman both scored 10 points and registered double-doubles, Chappell by virtue of his 16 rebounds and Fullman through 10 assists.
Chappell's double-double was his third since being called up from the junior varsity squad in late December. The freshman forward has since established himself as a regular starter for Prince George (3-7, 6-10).
"He's an exceptional freshman," Hettinger said. "He plays beyond his years and he has some good post moves."
Despite the Royals' position in the bottom half of the top-heavy district, Hettinger said the team's original goal of advancing to the Central Region tournament has not changed. The key, the second-year coach said, will be to finish the season strong and ride that momentum into the postseason.
"That's when Cinderella comes to life," Hettinger said. "So we're hoping we're that Cinderella this year."