Last Updated: Mar 31st, 2014 - 14:20:42


Hopewell Knocks Off Thomas Dale, Matoaca
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jan 31, 2013, 15:40

Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor (20) dribbles in transition as Thomas Dale senior Kavon Waller (10) and junior A.J. Holliday (21) defend during a Central District game on Monday at Leadbetter Gymnasium in Hopewell. Taylor racked up 25 points, all five of Hopewell's starters scored in double figures and the Blue Devils won 69-61 (photo by David Breidenbach).


HOPEWELL – The Hopewell High School boys basketball team huddled on the court in the moments leading up to a home game against Thomas Dale, swayed in unison from side to side and chanted, “Let’s get started.”

The Blue Devils did just that, and they finished with authority, too.

Hopewell drained six 3-pointers in the first quarter, bounced back from a lackluster performance in the second and made enough free throws down the stretch to emerge with a 69-61 Central District victory on Monday at Leadbetter Gymnasium.

With the win, the Blue Devils avenged an early-season loss to the Knights and further clustered the top-heavy district standings.

“We got off to a good start,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “Like every good team does, Dale came back and made a run. I was just glad to see our guys maintain and hold it together.”

Thomas Dale sophomore Andrien White (5) pulls down a rebound as Hopewell senior Tre' Bryant contests (photo by David Breidenbach).
At the center of it all was Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound swingman spurred the home team by sinking four first-quarter treys, but Simon said he was most impressed with Taylor’s 5-for-5 showing from the foul line in the final frame.

Taylor is emerging as leader on the squad, according to Hopewell’s sixth-year coach.

“He played really well,” Simon said. “I was especially proud of him for making those clutch free throws after we had missed a few.”

Taylor got off to a blistering start, singlehandedly manufacturing a 6-0 lead for the home team. He knocked down a 3-pointer from the right side on the Blue Devils’ first possession of the game, forced a turnover on the ensuing trip down the floor and drained another triple seconds later.

Daniel Saunders and Octavious Taylor followed suit, converting consecutive 3s that produced a 12-2 advantage. Tabyus Taylor pushed the gap to a baker’s dozen with a catch-and-shoot 3 from the right corner with 4:52 left in the opening stanza. The early onslaught asked questions of the Knights’ normally stingy zone defense and forced the visitors to afford more attention to the perimeter.

“Dale plays a great zone,” Simon said. “It’s hard to score against them. Getting off to a good start gave our guys confidence, and we were able to sustain.”

Thomas Dale, however, appeared undaunted.

The Knights embarked on a methodical 27-9 run that provided the team from Chester with a 29-24 lead with three minutes left in the second quarter.

Senior Kavon Waller, who finished with a team-high 21 points, punctuated the surge with the first of his game-high five 3-pointers.

Thomas Dale led 34-32 at halftime, but the third quarter was played at a breakneck pace that seemed to favor Hopewell. Darrell Taylor’s putback gave the Blue Devils a 36-34 edge until Collin Fleischer reclaimed the lead for the Knights with a three-point play in the paint.

Saunders knocked down a heavily contested 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 43-43 midway through the penultimate frame, and the sparring continued until Hopewell assembled a 6-0 burst in the quarter’s final stages.

“Even when Dale took the lead, the guys said, “We’re all right,’” Simon said. “And it was good to see them give each other confidence. They knew how important the game was, they believed in each other and we were able to pull it out.”

While their perimeter shooting cooled considerably over the course of the game, the Blue Devils countered Waller’s increasingly hot hand by outrebounding the Knights on both ends of Coach Littlepage Court.

Darrell Taylor and Malik Monds combined to haul in a dozen rebounds, and the home team made good use of the second-chance shots that the forwards’ efforts yielded.

“We don’t always do a good job with offensive rebounds,” Simon said. “But tonight when the shots stopped falling, we did a good job of attacking the glass.”

Waller narrowed the deficit to a single point on two occasions in the fourth quarter – at first with a pull-up jumper that made the score 55-54, then with a 3 from the left side that cut it to 58-57 – but the lead never changed hands again.

The game was Thomas Dale’s first in 10 days, and Knights coach Eddie Goss said the rust was plain to see.

“They had more energy and enthusiasm than we did,” Goss said. “They shot the ball a little bit better than we did and they killed us on the offensive boards. We didn’t rebound very well, and when you don’t defend and you don’t rebound, you lose.”

All five of Hopewell’s starters scored in double figures.

Tabyus Taylor scored 12 points in the first quarter and nine in the fourth en route to a game-high total of 25. Monds and Darrell Taylor chipped in with 12 apiece while Saunders and Octavious Taylor stepped off the court at game’s end with 10 each.

For Thomas Dale, sophomore Andrien White finished with 10 points while Joseph Smith and Fleischer notched nine and eight, respectively. Junior point guard A.J. Holliday played the role of provider, dishing out 10 assists for the Knights, who fell to 9-6 overall (7-3 in district play).

TDHS: 15 19 14 13 – 61
HHS: 20 12 19 16 – 69

THOMAS DALE: Smith 9, Williams 0, White 10, Waller 21, McCollum 2, Fleischer 8, Tate 0, Holliday 2, Clark 9. Totals: 22 9-14 61. 3-pointers: Waller 5, Smith 2, Clark.

HOPEWELL: Holloway 0, Saunders 10, T. Taylor 25, O. Taylor 10, Fernandez 0, Monds 12, Bryant 0, D. Taylor 12. Totals: 26 9-14 69. 3-pointers: T. Taylor 4, Saunders 2, O. Taylor 2.


HOPEWELL ROLLS PAST MATOACA

Junior Malik Monds scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half of a Central District road game against Matoaca, helping Hopewell overturn a 26-24 halftime deficit to win 61-54 on Tuesday in Chesterfield.

Hopewell guards Daniel Saunders and Octavious Taylor equaled Monds’ game-high point tally, draining a combined seven 3-pointers along the way. The victory extends Hopewell’s winning streak to two games ahead of Friday’s showdown with league-leading Petersburg.

That game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at Leadbetter Gymnasium in Hopewell.

“This district is tough night in and night out,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “We’ve shown up to play for two nights this week, and we need to make it three.”

HHS: 10 14 21 16 – 61
MHS: 15 11 16 12 – 54

Highlights: Malik Monds (H) 9 rebounds; Octavious Taylor (H) 6 assists, 2 steals; Tabyus Taylor 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Daniel Saunders (H) 4 rebounds.

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