Royals' Miscues Highlight Loss To Generals
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Feb 10, 2014, 22:23
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
DINWIDDIE — After dropping six of their previous seven games, Prince George controlled much of the pace and dictated tempo against the Generals, taking a 38-36 lead on two Brian Fullman free throws with 3:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Momentum had swung entirely to Prince George as Dinwiddie continued to falter offensively while being forced into low-percentage shots. However, the tide would turn rapidly as the Royals turned the ball over on three-consecutive possessions, giving the Generals life during a 5-0 run which allowed them to take a three-point lead.
Yet, after scoring just five points in the first 5:59 of the fourth quarter, the Royals still found themselves in the game due to great defensive play by running shooters off the line and clogging the paint. Savonte Chappell's lay-in pulled the Royals to within three points, 52-49, with two consecutive chances to either tie or pull closer.
But the Royals could not pull even, misfiring on two consecutive 3-pointers while the Generals hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to capture a 59-53 win.
"We just came out and discussed time management," Royals head coach Travis Carr said after the loss. "That's one key to the game that kind of gets overlooked sometimes. It's something the kids have to learn and basketball IQs have to go up in that situation."
Although those types of miscues are to be expected from a team with just four seniors on the roster. The only way to learn how to execute in certain situations is to falter and for a Royals (5-16) team which rushed to shoot threes when the circumstances dictated a need for any bucket is one of the lessons learned.
However, the final 120 seconds was not the reason why Prince George found themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard for the 16th time this season. Their chance to take control of the game was surrendered by not taking care of the basketball in the critical third quarter.
Prior to Fullman's two free throws, Prince George demonstrated an ability to get into the lane at ease and finish around the basket. Yet, once the Generals (11-8) Joe Lewis blocked Fullman's next attempted shot before draining a long two-pointer, the tide quickly swung.
The Royals second-guessed their decisions, making the process slower while trying to fit passes into the post which were not there, leading to the three consecutive turnovers and the lost momentum.
"There's a lot of things we stress and taking care of the ball is one of them," Carr said after his team turned the ball over 21 times. "We would love to get out and run and use our athletic abilities, but you can't do that unless you take care of the ball first."
While the Royals lost a game they could have won, Carr's squad showed the next step in their maturation of players, making it seem that Prince George was going to win their sixth game of the season for much of the contest.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
All it took was one offensive put-back by Quincy Cunningham to awaken the junior. Cunningham would score Prince George's first seven points, including a 3-pointer to give them an early 7-5 lead. It was Cunningham's first quarter performance which fueled his teammates to believe in themselves, making those around him better.
Cunningham's 16-point performance was made all the more impressive in the variety of ways he was able to showcase his scoring ability with baskets coming from long-range, tip-ins and runners in the lane.
"Quincy has a great shot and when that thing gets going, he can be dangerous because he can always get to the basket," Carr said of the junior. "The in-and-out game with him is lethal at times."
But Cunningham was not alone.
Shonquez Henry started off the year with a quick-trigger, seemingly firing up a shot whenever he had the ball. However, over the last few games Henry's maturation has shown brightly.
The junior is no longer in a rush to get off a shot, but eyes the defense and decides what to do based on the situation at hand. He's even showed a willingness to drive to the basket like he did against the Generals for an and-1 play en route to a 10-point performance.
Even sophomore big man John Sally has seen his minutes increase with him responding to the extra responsibility. Sally played tough interior defense and even scored off an offensive rebound, showing the type of promise highlighting Carr's team for seasons ahead.
"I want to see these grows because they still have plenty of more games in their futures," Carr said of his young team. "We're in a building process right now with some of the players. We've been building all year to have a team that can finish games and get wins. Hopefully we can make some noise in the conference tournament next week. Time will tell, though."
No matter what happens for the Royals during the conference tournament, the most important part of their season has been the development of a young core who with one extra year of experience may have what it takes to be a surprise team next year.