Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Hopewell Ousts Meadowbrook; Matoaca Advances
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Feb 14, 2013, 14:46

Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor (20) drives to the basket between a pair of Meadowbrook defenders on Monday at Hopewell High School. The Blue Devils ousted the Monarchs from the Central District tournament with a 67-60 victory (photo by Jacob Vaughan).

HOPEWELL – Hopewell High School sophomore Darrell Taylor is an artist, the low post his canvas.

Buoyed by his brush strokes – 20 points, seven rebounds and four blocks – fourth-ranked Hopewell fended off No. 5 Meadowbrook to claim a 67-60 victory in the first round of the Central District boys basketball tournament on Monday at Leadbetter Gymnasium.

The 6-foot-4 forward torched the Monarchs throughout the elimination game with a medley of post-ups, spin moves and defensive maneuvers in the paint.

“It was a win-or-die night,” Darrell Taylor said. “We had to win, and I wanted to come through for my team.”

Hopewell sophomore Darrell Taylor dunks during the fourth quarter of a Central District quarterfinal game against Meadowbrook (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
With the win, Hopewell clinched a berth in the Central Region tournament and advanced to a semifinal rubber match with top-seeded Matoaca on Thursday.

The Blue Devils and Warriors split their two regular-season encounters with both teams winning on the road.

Meadowbrook’s season came to a close with the defeat.

Hopewell led by nine at halftime, but Meadowbrook methodically chipped away at the deficit for the duration of the third quarter.

Senior Lavonte Hights put the Monarchs back on level terms with a mid-range jumper that knotted the score at 48-48 with 7:27 remaining in the fourth, but the Blue Devils never trailed in the second half.

“I think our guys did a good job of hanging in there,” said Hopewell coach Reggie Simon. “We knew Meadowbrook wasn’t going to give up, and we knew when we had the lead that they were going to make a run. It was just a matter of us keeping our poise.”

The first quarter was a microcosm of the district’s topsy-turvy regular season. It was played at a pulsating pace, featured three lead changes and concluded with no clear frontrunner.

Hopewell led 18-16 at the onset of the second quarter, and the end-to-end action persisted for a while longer. The two teams combined to score on six straight possessions at one point, but the Blue Devils broke the pattern by pocketing the last nine points of the first half to lead 35-26 at the intermission.

Unwilling to concede the season-ending defeat, the Monarchs reeled the Blue Devils back in after halftime. Senior Khalil Hardy knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner that capped an 8-1 burst for Meadowbrook and reduced Hopewell’s lead to 43-42.

Hopewell sophomore Daniel Saunders netted a triple and turnaround jumper on consecutive possessions to interrupt the surge, but Hights’ bucket resulted in the game’s final tie 33 seconds into the final stanza (48-48).

Octavious Taylor put Hopewell back out front with a perfect trip to the free throw line, and the senior guard’s dump-off pass to Darrell Taylor in the lane made for an easy layup that gave the Blue Devils a 52-48 edge.

Moments later, with Hopewell leading 54-51, the Blue Devils embarked on an 8-0 tear that all but sealed the Monarchs’ fate. Darrell Taylor ignited the clinching spurt with a right-handed hook shot, and Malik Monds capped the run with two free throws that pushed Hopewell’s lead to 62-51 with 2:11 remaining.

Monds, a 6-4 forward who patrols the high post for Hopewell, finished with eight points and six rebounds. His partnership with Darrell Taylor forced Meadowbrook to pay more attention to the interior and paved the way for Hopewell’s guards to knock down seven 3s.

“If our big men get going and have a good game, you might as well say we won,” Darrell Taylor said. “If we get going and our wings are shooting well, it’s going to be a good game.”

Darrell Taylor sealed the result with a right-handed dunk in transition with 22 seconds remaining.

Hopewell junior Tabyus Taylor, a first-team all-district selection, scored nine points and hauled in eight rebounds while Saunders and Octavious Taylor notched eight points apiece.

Meadowbrook junior Brandon Cheeks and sophomore Elijah James paced the Monarchs with 14 points each.

Hopewell and Matoaca will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Leadbetter Gymnasium. Simon said his team will draw confidence from its 61-54 victory over the Warriors on Jan. 29.

“We know it’s a different game every time we step on the floor,” Simon said. “Matoaca is an excellent team. We’re glad that we survived tonight, and we’re ready for the challenge. Our goal is to win the tournament.

“We feel like we’re just as good as the teams that finished ahead of us.”

HHS: 18 17 13 19 – 67
MBK: 16 10 20 14 – 60

NO. 4 HOPEWELL: Holloway 6, Saunders 8, T. Taylor 9, O. Taylor 8, Fernandez 6, Monds 8, Bryant 2, D. Taylor 20. Totals: 23 14-18 67. 3-pointers: Holloway 2, Saunders 2, Fernandez 2, O. Taylor.

NO. 5 MEADOWBROOK: Coleman 3, Hardy 13, Simms 4, Cheeks 14, Brandon 2, James 14, Baker 0, Hights 10. Totals: 25 6-8 60. 3-pointers: Hardy 2, Coleman, Cheeks.

* No. 1 Matoaca 68, No. 8 Colonial Heights 43

Matoaca senior B.J. Allen racked up a game-high 19 points and Rashard Lewis added 13 as the top-ranked Warriors cruised past No. 8 Colonial Heights, 68-43, in a Central District quarterfinal game on Monday in Hopewell.

The Colonials, who finished winless in district play, were led by Seth Markins’ eight points while Doug Jackson and Ashton Reighard both tallied seven in the losing effort.

Seven Colonial Heights seniors – Jackson, Reighard, Rene Reid, Javon Taylor, Khayree Fareed, Brandon Felton, and Paul Baik – played their final game for the Colonials.

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