Crimson Wave Roll Blue Devils
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Feb 4, 2013, 16:20
Hopewell senior Octavious Taylor (22) looks to transition from defense to offense during a Central District game against Petersburg on Friday at Leadbetter Gymnasium. The visiting Crimson Wave won 72-60 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
HOPEWELL – The latest chapter of the storied boys basketball rivalry between Hopewell High School and Petersburg was not unlike countless renditions before it. The Central District showdown was bitterly contested and brimming with physicality.
And – this time at least – that style favored the visiting Crimson Wave.
Petersburg exploited foul trouble in Hopewell’s frontcourt and shot considerably better from the free throw line, coasting to a 72-60 victory in a game that produced four technical fouls and 53 total infractions on Friday at Leadbetter Gymnasium.
The result put an end to the Blue Devils’ two-game winning streak and kept the Crimson Wave atop the district standings.
“We knew we controlled our own destiny,” said Petersburg coach Rick Hite. “You can’t look ahead and you can’t look back. We wanted to come in here and get a victory against a very good basketball team on their home court.”
Hopewell junior Malik Monds (40) looks for a teammate on the perimeter (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
The Crimson Wave converted 20 of their 28 free throws, besting the Blue Devils’ 19-of-34 showing from the charity stripe.
“Those are opportunities for free points,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “You have to take advantage of those opportunities because every point counts when you’re playing in a rivalry game such as this. We lost by 12, but we missed 15 free throws.”
The teams exchanged blows throughout a see-saw first half that featured five ties and eight lead changes. Hopewell senior Tre’ Bryant converted a contested layup to knot the score at 8-8 with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
In turn, Petersburg senior Frankie Barksdale knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the visitors a 15-14 edge at quarter’s end.
The Blue Devils opened the second stanza with a 9-2 run that produced their largest lead of the game at 23-17, but the Crimson Wave reclaimed the lead with a 7-0 burst immediately thereafter.
The two teams continued to trade buckets until Petersburg junior Gevon Arrington canned a 3 that made the score 29-26. Arrington scored nine of his game-high 23 points in the opening half.
Bryant, Tevin Holloway and Tabyus Taylor all scored seven points in the first half to help Hopewell keep pace. The Blue Devils would have been out front at the intermission if not for 10 missed free throws.
Foul trouble sidelined Hopewell starters Malik Monds, Darrell Taylor and Octavious Taylor for long stretches, and Simon credited Holloway and Bryant for coming off the bench to fill the voids.
“They had an opportunity to play more with other people in foul trouble,” Simon said. “They got in and did a great job.”
Hopewell exploded out of the gate in the third quarter, seizing the lead with a 7-0 run. Barksdale restored the visitors’ slender advantage with an old-fashioned three-point play, but Octavious Taylor knocked down a well-defended trey to give the home team a 40-39 lead with 4:09 left in the penultimate period.
“We knew they were coming,” Hite said. “They played a lot of the first half without who I consider their leader in Octavious [Taylor]. I knew he would start the third, and I knew he was going to get them going. That’s exactly what happened.”
Petersburg weathered the storm, however, and forged ahead with a 17-7 run. Arrington bookended the momentum-stealing surge with a pair of layups, the second of which gave his team a 56-47 lead with 6:39 remaining in the game.
While Petersburg flourished on offense, Hopewell floundered. The Blue Devils went cold from the perimeter and couldn’t score in the paint with any regularity.
“I thought at times we had good shot opportunities, but we didn’t finish,” Simon said. “That contributed to the momentum swing. At other times we took some bad shots, but we did have some good looks that we just didn’t make.”
The game was Petersburg’s first since beating Meadowbrook on Jan. 22. By contrast, Hopewell beat second-place Thomas Dale on Monday and toppled third-place Matoaca on Tuesday.
“We wanted to try to wear them down,” Hite said. “They had a tough, very productive week. We wanted to try to get them into the fourth quarter and see if they had anything left after two tough games.”
As it turned out, the Blue Devils’ tank was all but empty.
The Crimson Wave’s 12-point margin of victory marked the largest lead for either team. Tabyus Taylor restored an inkling of hope to the home faithful by draining a 3-pointer that reduced the deficit to 66-60 with 1:08 left, but the last-ditch effort was for naught.
The Crimson Wave made six of eight free throws in the final minute to win comfortably. Kaimonne Douglas scored 12 and Barksdale 11 for Petersburg (13-7 overall), which improved to 10-2 in district play.
Tabyus Taylor led the Blue Devils with 17 points while Holloway finished with 10. Bryant, Octavious Taylor and sophomore Daniel Saunders all chipped in with eight for Hopewell (13-7 overall), which slipped to 7-5 in district outings.
Game Notes: The game was preceded by a Senior Night ceremony that paid tribute to the contributions of Octavious Taylor, Holloway, Bryant and Calvin Boney … Holloway and Bryant were whistled for technical fouls for Hopewell while Barksdale and Marias Watson garnered Petersburg’s two technicals … Petersburg is the only Central District opponent to sweep Hopewell this season.