Crimson Wave Crests: Petersburg Tops Dale
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Feb 6, 2013, 15:48
Petersburg junior Kai Haskett (right) dribbles as Thomas Dale sophomores Joseph Smith (2) and Andrien White (5) give chase during a Central District game on Tuesday. The Crimson Wave used a fourth-quarter surge to win 72-60 (photo by David Breidenbach).
PETERSBURG – The Petersburg High School boys basketball players take a physical approach to every game, and they don’t mind when their opponents do the same.
Devoid of a quintessential scorer but boasting talent from top to bottom, Petersburg’s roster is deeper than most. While other teams struggle with foul trouble in whistle-riddled contests, the Crimson Wave avoid such toils by rotating their lineup with greater frequency.
Thomas Dale became the latest foe to fall victim to Petersburg’s personnel surplus on Tuesday.
The Crimson Wave outlasted the visiting Knights in a stop-and-go Central District game at William Lawson Jr. Gymnasium, pulling away from their short-staffed counterparts in the fourth quarter to win 72-60.
“We try to get teams into a physical game. We’re a physical team,” said Petersburg coach Rick Hite. “We practice without fouls, and it gets really physical. I feel like we have 13 guys on the roster that are prepared to come out there and put their bodies on the line for the sake of the team.
Thomas Dale junior A.J. Holliday (21) drives the baseline before finishing with a reverse layup on Tuesday in Petersburg (photo by David Breidenbach).
“Tonight, all 13 guys did exactly that.”
The loss put an end to Thomas Dale’s bid for the regular-season title. In all likelihood, the Knights will enter next week’s district tournament as the No. 3 seed. Petersburg (13-7, 10-3 Central District) and Matoaca are currently tied atop the district standings with one game remaining.
Should both teams win their final game on Thursday – Petersburg at home against Prince George, Matoaca on the road at Colonial Heights – the Crimson Wave and Warriors will meet in a one-game playoff on Friday.
Matoaca completed a regular-season sweep of Petersburg with a one-point win on Monday, making Tuesday’s matchup a must-win encounter for both teams.
“You can never question this team’s heart,” Hite said. “I felt like we were backed up against a wall, and we just had to come out and play.”
They did just that, but the Knights kept pace for most of the first three quarters. Thomas Dale sophomore Andrien White, who led all scorers with 22 points, knocked down consecutive jumpers to give the visitors a 12-11 lead late in the opening frame.
Petersburg junior Gevon Arrington responded with a putback that just beat the first-quarter buzzer and provided the home team with a one-point edge at the onset of the second.
Earl Adams gave the Crimson Wave a 32-24 lead with an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:10 left in the first half, but Joseph Smith singlehandedly whittled the deficit to two by quarter’s end.
Left unattended on the left wing, the 6-foot sophomore knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession. Moments later, Smith absorbed contact from a late-arriving defender and still managed to convert a baseline jumper. The subsequent free throw reduced Petersburg’s lead to 32-30 at halftime.
Smith’s contributions helped offset the absence of Thomas Dale senior Kavon Waller, who leads the Knights in scoring this season. The senior picked up his second foul with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter and didn’t return until the dying embers of the second.
“It always hurts when you don’t have the best player in the district on the floor,” said Thomas Dale coach Eddie Goss.
The Crimson Wave never relinquished the lead in the second half.
White pulled the Knights to within three on two occasions in the penultimate period – at first with a three-point play in the paint that made the score 45-42, then with a step-back 3 from the right side that cut it to 48-45 – but Petersburg’s Kaimonne Douglas countered both buckets.
The junior scored the Crimson Wave’s last five points of the third, and the home team led 50-45 going into the fourth. It never got any closer.
Waller canned a pull-up 3 to cut the gap to 57-52 with 5:33 left in the contest, but Petersburg closed with a 15-8 run to solidify the result. Waller and Thomas Dale junior Collin Fleischer fouled out in the stretch run.
“We were right there, but all of our guys were in foul trouble,” Goss said.
Petersburg sophomore Khalid Morris pocketed the game’s only double-double, amassing 10 points and 11 rebounds. Douglas, Arrington and Adams also scored in double figures for the Crimson Wave, pouring in 17, 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Fleischer finished with 12 points and eight boards while Smith scored all of his 11 points in the first half. White complimented his game-high point total with six rebounds and three steals.
With the loss, the Knights slipped to 11-7 overall and 9-4 in district play. If Thomas Dale manages a win over Dinwiddie on Thursday, Goss said his team will gain confidence from the fact that it will enter the district tournament having beaten every team in the league.
“We’re not going away,” Goss said. “We’ll be there at the end.”
TDHS: 12 18 15 13 – 60
PHS: 13 19 18 22 – 72
THOMAS DALE: (11-7, 9-4 Central): Smith 11, Terry 0, Williams 0, White 22, Waller 7, McCollum 0, Culmer 0, Fleischer 12, Tate 0, Holliday 4, Clark 4, Johnson 0. Totals: 17 22-28 60. 3-pointers: Smith 2, White, Waller.