Prince George Struggling To Find Consistency
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Jan 1, 2014, 09:23
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
PRINCE GEORGE — During the course of a season, there are certain to be highs and lows. In basketball, even games are littered with ebbs and flows as each team makes a run to ultimately attempt to win a game. Yet, for Prince George, this season has been a challenge.
The Royals have won just three of their first 10 games, but many of their losses could have been wins if one bounce would go their way. Their seven losses have come from a combined average of 9.4 points per game, skewed by double-digit losses to Hopewell and Varina.
However, the Prince George season has to be looked at in terms of overall growth and from the first game to the last, it's been trending upward.
Take a look at the Royals three wins with two of them coming against teams which entered the season ranked in their respective conferences. The win over Petersburg is a victory which will have a lasting effect on the program.
"That win against Petersburg two weeks ago not only did we do something that night, but it did something for our program now and into the future," Prince George head coach Travis Carr said. "We can beat, in all caps, THAT team. This is that team and we have the potential to beat them."
But while Carr's squad as the talent to compete with teams like Petersburg and Deep Creek, it has also shown inconsistency from game-to-game or even quarter-to-quarter.
Facing Dinwiddie prior to the Fort Lee Holiday Tournament, Prince George held a comfortable halftime lead before tallying just three points in the third quarter. It led to the Generals capturing the one-point victory and left head-scratching for the Prince George players.
However, in the first-round of the tournament, Prince George captured a dominating 30-point victory in a game they allowed their starters to rest for much of the second half. While Carr pointed to the red shoelaces as the reason for their success, it was really about the effort the team put forth.
That same effort continued in a loss to Petersburg the next night.
In fact, Prince George held the halftime lead and even entered the fourth quarter still up on the scoreboard. However, late-game turnovers and a few shots off iron derailed the Royals of their second-win over Petersburg in two weeks.
"I told the guys that this game wasn't going to be given to us," Carr said immediately following the loss. "We have to go out there and take it."
Yet, the win slipped away, placing the Royals into a third-place showdown with Varina where the team suffered an emotional let-down.
The game was decided after the first quarter as Prince George saw themselves immediately trail 9-0 in the opening minutes, 20-10 after one quarter and 34-14 after one half of play.
Carr's squad suffered through numerous foul problems to key players in Savonte Chappell and Cory Hill, putting them in a precarious situation they could not climb out of. For the Royals to be successful this season, they need to bring the same intensity to every game, not just ones against big-time opponents.
It's an aspect not unnoticed by Carr.
"Right now we are on a roller coaster," Carr said. "You can tell by the results. We have big wins and then we have let-downs like this. Hopefully, we learn from this, regather ourselves during the break, fine-tune some of our parts and move on."
And it's something that this Royals' squad is capable of doing.
Carr's group has everything needed to make a late-season run. He has an athletic team with a few bruisers in the blocks. Chappell may be one of the best big men in the region.
The sophomore has a soft-touch around the basket and the strength to outmuscle other forwards. It's what allows him to be the team's leading scorer and rebounder, but it also highlights the need to develop other scoring option.
Too often, Prince George relies too heavily on the trio of Chappell, Hill and Quincy Cunningham. For them to advance to a higher echelon, they need contributions from other which made Brian Fullman's performance against Petersburg all the more promising.
"Brian was really impressive tonight," Carr said after Fullman's 15-point effort. "We have to other ingredients to our team other than Cory, Quincy and Savonte. We need other guys to step up and I was very proud of Brian's effort."
If Prince George can receive a steadying offensive presence from Fullman along with Nathan Williams who is rounding into form following a broken wrist, consistency may finally come for this Royals squad.