Warriors Claim Tournament Title
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Feb 18, 2013, 14:36
The Matoaca High School boys basketball team celebrates after winning the Central District tournament on Friday at Hopewell High School. The tournament crown was the first in program history for the Warriors, who also won the regular-season title (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
HOPEWELL – Midnight finally struck for the seventh-seeded Dinwiddie boys basketball team, which reached the championship game of the Central District tournament by stringing together a pair of postseason upsets.
Top-ranked Matoaca made sure of it.
The Warriors put an end to the Generals’ fairytale run, cruising to a 70-37 victory in the finals on Friday at Hopewell High School’s Leadbetter Gymnasium. The tournament crown was the first in school history for Matoaca, which lost twice in the title game in the last 10 years.
“The third time was the charm for us,” said Matoaca coach Charles Payton. “We’ve been here before in 2004 and 2007, and to win this one feels so good because these guys have worked so hard for so long.
“I’m just really proud as a coach that they have a chance to experience the title.”
Dinwiddie reached the final round by knocking out No. 2 Petersburg and No. 6 Prince George with a pair of fourth-quarter runs. By the time this contest reached the final frame, the result was a foregone conclusion.
The Warriors, who led 32-20 at halftime, put the game out of reach by outscoring the Generals 20-7 in the third quarter.
“We tried to shoot our way to a win, and that’s not what we do,” said Dinwiddie coach Chip McCoull. “We need to grind it. We were hoping we’d hit a few shots and that would get us going. We didn’t hit them, so we didn’t get going.”
Matoaca sophomore Devin Morgan dribbles in transition during the Central District boys basketball championship game on Friday in Hopewell (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
Matoaca sophomore Devin Morgan got going. The first-team all-district point guard scored a game-high 13 points and guided the Warriors to victory with a steady backcourt performance.
“Devin is wise beyond his years,” Payton said. “He is a floor general for us, and he’s fully committed to basketball. He really just loves the game.”
B.J. Allen tacked on 12 for the Warriors, but the breakthrough victory was carved out on the defensive end of Littlepage Court. Matoaca limited Dinwiddie’s Dashaun Coleman and Jourdon Winfield to five and four points, respectively. The same duo combined for 39 in the semifinals and 26 in the quarterfinals.
“Luckily, we were able to force them into missing some shots in the second half,” Payton said.
Trevion Armstrong and Rashard Lewis finished with nine points apiece and Khalil Coleman added eight for the Warriors, who will debut in the Central Region tournament as a No. 1 seed.
JaQuan Poarch scored 10 points to lead Dinwiddie, which will enter the region bracket as an unlikely second-seeded inclusion. The Generals will be the only sub-.500 team in the region to host a first-round game.
“Every team has to play to its potential,” McCoull said. “We played to our potential for a couple games and for one game we didn’t. I think we caught some teams on some nights when they weren’t really playing to their potential.
“That’s how it works in the tournament.”
MHS: 18 14 20 18 – 70
DHS: 7 13 7 10 – 37
NO. 1 MATOACA: Coleman 8, Markland 0, Taylor 2, Armstrong 9, Lewis 9, Walker 7, Morgan 13, Abbott 0, Gilchrist 0, Bolton 4, Brown 6, Boyd 0, Robertson 0, Allen 12. Totals: 27 12-17 70. 3-pointers: Armstrong, Lewis, Morgan, Bolton.
NO. 7 DINWIDDIE: Winfield 4, Watts 3, Burgess 3, I. Gholson 3, Greene 0, Taylor 0, Lewis 2, Poarch 10, Buford 0, Coleman 5, Reed 1, Cooper 0, Brown 3, S. Gholson 3. Totals: 12 10-21 37. 3-pointers: Watts, I. Gholson, S. Gholson.