White Leads Knight To Victory
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Dec 9, 2013, 09:40
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/ News Patriot
After trailing by a point at halftime, the Thomas Dale Knights (1-1) surged back onto the basketball court with a clap of energetic thunder to overcome the Prince George Royals (1-3) 85-65.
The Knights had a slow start putting numbers on the scoreboard, losing by more than five points late in the second quarter, when junior guard Andrien White injected some momentum into the Thomas Dale gymnasium with a speedy fast break followed immediately after by a three point swish.
With White scoring eight points in the final two minutes of the half, the Knights entered the locker room with an optimistic one point deficit and a boost of confidence.
Thomas Dale head coach Eddie Goss said that White playing well is a key element in the level of strength and energy within the rest of the team.
"I think Andrien hitting some shots...kind of picked us up a little bit, and then you saw that once he hit a couple, we started bouncing. We started being active on defense... Then all of a sudden you're down here hitting shots," Goss said.
White had an utterly explosive night finishing with 39 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, one block and an assist.
Prince George maintained the lead for the majority of the first half and into the second half, controlling the game play with a rapid paced offense fueled by offensive rebounds, 14 in the first half, while Thomas Dale only had 18 in the whole game. Knights' forward Savonte Chappell had 8 offensive rebounds in the game.
Thomas Dale sprang back to take the lead in the third quarter, and Prince George guard BJ Knight quickly tied it back up with a three point bullet. But White answered with a three of his own, and the Knights never looked back after that, expanding the lead to twenty by the end of the fourth quarter with a tenacity that Prince George couldn't keep up with.
"We need to play that way for 32 minutes. We can't come out conserving ourselves in the first quarter and make it a tight game, make the other team feel good about themselves. We got to come out and play that way the whole 32 minutes. If we start doing that, we'll be in good shape," Goss said.
Coming off of a season opening loss at home to Thomas Jefferson, Goss said they cut down on turnovers and started rebounding better in the second half, critical factors in shedding the skin of defeat to grab their first win on Friday.
"We're a small team, so we've got to really work hard on rebounding...[Prince George] had 14 offensive rebounds the first half. I don't think they had that many the second half. That was the difference right there...And then we didn't turn the ball over. Once we made steals or once we got the ball, we didn't turn it over. We came down and got good shots and we were making a few of them," Goss said.
Thomas Dale had 41 rebounds in the win, led by White with 12 and senior forward Collin Fleischer with 9 (in addition to 11 points).
On top of being able to rebound, during the second quarter, Maurice Gothe, junior forward for the Knights, and Chappell sent the crowd into a frenzy with a back and forth block duel, hurtling the basketball off the backboard whenever they could get a chance.
Gothe played off the bench and had four blocks on the night.
"Goethe is just a real hustler. He works hard, he's coming strong. He played as a sophomore. He didn't play last year because he's a good baseball player. Now he's playing again and I think he's loving it and he's made a big impact on what we do," Goss said.
Goss emphasized that they need to harness that same energy and enthusiasm on a daily basis to keep winning.
"We've got to get better and better. Their goal as they walk on this court is to try and be a better basketball player when they walk off of it every night we play," Goss said.
Chappell led the Royals with 18 points, followed by point guard Cory Hill with 15.
Prince George earned their first win against Deep Creek in a 72-63 matchup at home on Saturday, and will travel to Hopewell on Tuesday.