Knights Roll Past Blue Devils
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Dec 16, 2013, 08:44
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/ News Patriot
The Hopewell Blue Devils boys varsity basketball squad (3-4) gave up the lead early on Friday night to the Thomas Dale Knights (3-2), and struggled to reply with a comeback for the rest of the game, losing 88-69 at home.
Andrien White kick started Thomas Dale's offense with an unstoppable flammability, scoring their first eight points, and sinking three three-pointers for 11 points in four minutes to put them up by nine early on in the game.
Although the Blue Devils eventually began to answer with buckets of their own, they just couldn't keep up with the scoring force of the Knights, getting outscored in every quarter, even when they put up 26 points in the fourth.
Hopewell, returning from a 85-57 victory against Prince George, also had trouble beating the Knights' full court press, often times turning the ball over and taking uncomfortable shots, allowing for Thomas Dale to capitalize with quick transition and completed baskets.
Despite trailing by a consistent deficit, the Blue Devils fought hard through all four quarters to bridge the gap, but overall lacked the offensive efficiency displayed by the Knights on the evening.
Senior forward Tabyus Taylor had a powerful presence in the loss, barreling through players to get his own rebounds and finishing plays out to the very end.
Taylor had 24 points and seven rebounds in the loss, and Darrell Taylor grabbed eight rebounds to go along with seven points of his own.
Thomas Dale was coming off an overtime loss to the Matoaca Warriors, and head coach Eddie Goss stressed the failure of his team to play as a cohesive unit in the final minutes of that game as a pivotal factor in the defeat.
In the practices prior to Friday night's win over Hopewell, Goss said that he focused more on the importance of a team mentality.
"We need 32 minutes. We need 32 minutes from everybody on the team...And that's what we got tonight... It's gotten to the point, like in the NBA and some colleges, it's all one on one. In high school level, you can't play one on one. You've got to play [as] a team, and if you play a team game, you're pretty good," Goss said following their win.
And this is exactly what Goss got, a rotating offensive artillery with 10 players putting points on the board, four of whom scored in the double digits.
White led the Knights with 27 points and eight rebounds. Collin Fleischer followed with an impressive 22 points, 12 rebounds and multiple steals. Christian Clarke and Joe Smith had 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Thomas Dale also minimized turnovers, losing possession 14 times, down from an average of 22 turnovers per game, Goss said.
"That makes a big difference," Goss said.
Goss said they have to take advantage of the skill sets of every player on the team, and that the team is not completed solely by those who score the most points.
"We want to take advantage of Collin and his aggressiveness. We want to take advantage of the athleticism of Andrien, and what he can do with the basketball. We put that together with the other kids. AJ [Holliday] didn't score very many points. He got 2 points, but his leadership on the floor is just phenomenal," Goss said.
On Friday, Thomas Dale will play Meadowbrook at home, and Hopewell will host Colonial Heights.