Hopewell pow­ers past Springers

Blue Devils Boys Bas­ket­ball wins 66-57

The Progress-Index Weekend - - COURTSIDE - By Sean Jones Cor­re­spon­dent

HOPEWELL – The Blue Devils (2-0) sur­vived an early eight-point salvo from High­land Springs (1-1) to keep ac­tive their early-sea­son un­de­feated run with a 66-57 vic­tory over the Springers.

LaMonta El­lis led Hopewell with 20 points while Travonte Jones knocked down 16 and Elvin Ed­monds IV net­ted 16. Ed­monds, a sopho­more, hit four three-point shots and went 4-4 from the freethrow line.

The Springers took con­trol of the game’s early stages with an ag­gres­sive men­tal­ity. Tena­cious on de­fense, they moved the ball quickly on of­fense and found men in­side the perime­ter to grind out an early 5-4 lead.

The Blue Devils found it hard to main­tain ball con­trol at the of­fen­sive end of the court, giv­ing up turnovers and hav­ing to re­set into a de­fen­sive for­ma­tion. They were able to mus­cle through the Springers’ de­fense to keep the game close at 9-6 by the end of the first quar­ter.

It didn’t take long for High­land Springs to trans­late its early dom­i­nance to the score­board in the sec­ond quar­ter. Field goals from Jor­dan Crump and a three-point shot from Jor­dan Crump put High­land Springs ahead 20-12, prompt­ing a time­out from the Blue Devils.

“The prob­lem was that we were slow get­ting into our of­fense. Ba­si­cally, what we were driv­ing to the team was: calm down and at­tack the gaps,” said as­sis­tant head coach Charles Pate. “We no­ticed there was an ex­tended 2-3 zone. We re­al­ized if we could get the ball in the mid­dle, that it would col­lapse and some­one could get to the base­line for an easy layup.”

Hopewell re­sponded to the 8-point deficit by go­ing on a 9-point run of its own to take a 21-20 lead with a minute left in the half.

Ed­monds be­gan the run by drain­ing a long 3-point shot. Ja­mareon Brown did the same from the right side of the arc on the Blue Devils’ next posses­sion. El­lis made it to the in­te­rior for a two­point shot to com­plete Hopewell’s run to its first lead of the game.

Hopewell fin­ished the half with a nar­row 23-22 ad­van­tage af­ter work­ing out the of­fen­sive game plan.

“Coach Robin­son said to them, ‘You panic when I panic. I’m not pan­ick­ing. We’re ok. We’re go­ing to fig­ure this out,’” Pate said.

High­land Springs opened the sec­ond half with ball con­trol around the Hopewell perime­ter and took a short 26-23 lead. The Blue Devils mus­cled through the high press on the next play to tie the game.

Izeah Parker split two de­fend­ers in­side his arc and found El­lis in the cen­ter of the court. El­lis beat an­other High­land Springs de­fender spring­ing in to make an in­ter­cep­tion, then fed Ed­monds out wide. Ed­monds drained his sec­ond three-point score of the game.

Hopewell never lost the lead from that mo­ment for­ward.

The third quar­ter ended at 44-38.

“Now we have to turn it up,” Pate said about his team’s men­tal­ity head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter. “We started off slow, then slightly put our foot on the gas. We wanted the team to floor it, but smart. We dodged some bul­lets and took some gam­bles but the mes­sage was, ‘Don’t panic. Stick to the game plan.”

The Blue Devils con­tin­ued to ex­e­cute, outscor­ing the Springers 22-19 in the fourth quar­ter.

The Hopewell crowd roared for the first time in the game af­ter two huge blocks turned into points at the other end. A Springer was clean in for a layup un­til El­lis came fly­ing in to smack the ball off the back­board. The re­bound went to an­other at­tacker who was stuffed by Ed­monds at the arc. Parker peeled away to the other end of the court and slammed the ball down for a dunk af­ter tak­ing the long pass from his team­mate at the other end.

“De­fense was a lot bet­ter than the first game. We came out slow and slug­gish [against Cen­tral Vir­ginia Homeschool],” Pate said. “We still be­lieve we have that tar­get on our back as Hopewell, so peo­ple are gun­ning for us. We re­ally had to just lock arms and fin­ish strong. This was an ugly win. I hate ugly wins, but I will take an ugly W ver­sus a cute loss.”

The Blue Devils se­cured the 66-57 win by grow­ing through the game, scor­ing 6, 17, 21 and then 22 points through the four quar­ters.

In­terim head coach Dion Robin­son took charge of his sec­ond game for Hopewell af­ter a sea­son-open­ing 73-46 vic­tory over Cen­tral Vir­ginia Homeschool. Robin­son steps in dur­ing the ab­sence of Hopewell Boys Bas­ket­ball head coach Elvin Ed­monds III.

“It’s new. Some of us have never played to­gether,” Pate said about this team work­ing with an in­terim head coach. “A lot of this out here is that we’re try­ing to fig­ure it out. There are some things that we’re still work­ing on, but we have a bunch of guys who are in­still­ing self­less­ness to work for the team.”

Hopewell’s next game will be at home against crosstown ri­val Peters­burg on Fri­day night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.