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Strickland, Prince George Top Colonial Heights
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Feb 4, 2013, 16:44

Prince George senior Dre Strickland (10) cuts in front of Colonial Heights freshman Jacob Ezell (24) during a Central District game on Friday in Prince George. Strickland scored a game-high 28 points and the Royals cruised to an 88-68 victory (photo by David Breidenbach).


PRINCE GEORGE – Whether it was the excitement of sending off its seniors or a little extra emphasis from a pre-game scuffle between a couple excited players, something put a bee in the bonnet of the Prince George High School boys basketball team on Friday.

The Royals stormed out to a double-digit lead and went on to claim an 88-68 victory over visiting Colonial Heights. Both teams are in the lower half of the Central District bracket, but that didn’t detract from the energy level of the game.

Prince George senior Dre Strickland scored nine of his game-high 28 points in the first quarter. Another Royals senior, Shawn Broughton, added six of his 19 in the opening frame to push the home team to a 30-15 lead at the onset of the second.

“I think the intensity was there throughout the game,” said Prince George coach David Hettinger. “The Colonials are well-coached, and while it ended up being a 20-point game, it played like it was a lot closer.

“We have played games this season where we had that kind of intensity for two quarters, but always seemed to lose the intensity and the game along with it at some point.”

Prince George junior Brian Fullman (32) puts up a shot between a pair of Colonial Heights defenders on Friday in Prince George (photo by David Breidenbach).
Intensity wasn’t a problem in this outing.

Strickland in particular was effective from the tip. He canned the first bucket on a long 3-pointer to get things rolling and followed it up with three shorter jump shots throughout the quarter.

At the same time, Strickland was finding and feeding Broughton and working to get the ball inside to Brian Fullman and Cedric Wright.

“We wanted to come out hard and get the lead,” Strickland said. “We came out, played a little defense and scored some points. We had a little help from a lot of players tonight, and that helped us get the win.”

It didn’t matter really what Strickland was trying to do, because it seemed like everything he did was working. While their shooting wasn’t quite as torrid in the second quarter, the Royals still outpaced the Colonials by four points and extended the lead to 49-30 by halftime.

“They shot very well in the first quarter and throughout the game,” Colonials coach John Thomas said.

Thomas attributed the pre-game fracas to his players trying to get lined up for the start of the game and the Royals taking their time getting back to their side of the court. He didn’t see it as more than just a couple players bumping into each other.

But the bumping continued into the game.

The Colonials took and gave a battering under the boards. Doug Jackson and Quinshawn Owens fought to get off shots while being pushed, shoved and jostled — all within the legal limits of today’s basketball — by the likes of Devin Rose, Wright and Fullman.

Late in the fourth quarter, Owens picked up his fifth foul contesting a rebound, and Jackson had to sit out much of the third quarter after he was whistled for his fourth infraction.

Entering the final stanza and trailing by 23-points (68-45), the Colonials seemed to be at a loss for scoring help. They had managed to score 15 points in each of the first three quarters and it had become apparent that they would need a solid effort to affect any kind of a comeback.

Enter Ashton Reighard and Jacob Ezell.

Reighard, who nailed a pair of 3s in the second quarter, came free on a pick from the left side and knocked down his third trey to pull the Colonials to within 16. On the ensuing play, Ezell lined up a long-range bomb that clipped the cords and drew a foul in the process.

The freshman connected on the subsequent free throw, and the rare four-point play reduced the deficit to an even dozen.

Three Colonials scored in double figures on the night: Ezell led the team with 16, Jackson added 14 and Reighard tacked on 12. Strickland, Ezell and Reighard all knocked down three triples apiece.

Prince George got back in control because Wright woke up inside the lane. He scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter, racking up three baskets and making three of four foul shots.

“I thought that series was very critical for us,” Hettinger said. “In the past, that’s the kind of play that would lead to us letting the game slip away. But this time, the team rallied and got back on track right away.”

While the Colonials managed to win the quarter 23-20, the Royals’ surge behind Wright was just what the doctor ordered.

“We seem to be getting better right when we need to be better,” Hettinger said. “The [Central District] tournament is coming up, and while we won’t break into the top bracket we are playing well enough that we might be able to sneak a win in the first round.

“If we can do that, there’s no telling what can happen.”

CHHS 15 15 15 23 – 68
PGHS 30 19 19 20 – 88

COLONIAL HEIGHTS: Markins 6, Shaw 7, Taylor 2, Fareed 4, Williams 0, Ezell 16, Reighard 12, Felton 0, Maloney 0, Baik 0, Jackson 14, Dinoia 0, Owens 7. Totals 22 16-23 68. 3-pointers: Ezell 3, Reighard 3, Owens, Shaw.

PRINCE GEORGE: Strickland 28, Broughton 19, Williams 9, Fullman 7, Golden 2, Wright 9, Rose 3, Alexander 2, Jenkins 1, Chappell 2, Marks 2, Sally 1, Turpin 3. Totals 34 16-24 88. 3-pointers: Strickland 3, Broughton.

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