Hopewell goes 3-0 on the week
Blue Devils defeat Highland Springs, Varina, Glen Allen
HOPEWELL - The Blue Devils are off to a strong start to the 2018-19 girls basketball season, sweeping the week to go 3-0.
But it wasn't easy. Hopewell Girls Basketball on Thursday faced off against the Highland Springs Springers in what would prove to be one of the Juan Stephenson Classic invitational's most thrilling matchups. And, while the season is just opening, this will be one to remember for quite some time.
Both teams opened the first minutes of the game with successful basket attempts. Hopewell took the lead within minutes, gaining the advantage of 9-4.
But this would change. Highland Springs pulled ahead from behind with a single-point lead (23-22) in their favor.
The Lady Blue Devils had been stealing all manner of balls from Highland Springs in the beginning of the game. The Springers turned the tables on the Blue Devils and converting steals of their own into points.
At halftime the Springers enjoyed a score of 35-28 in their favor. At the beginning of the third period, the Springers were ahead 46-43, with Hopewell closing the gap in spite of their growing number of fouls.
But senior Courtney Scott then scored two free throws that tied up the contest, 48-48.
As the ticker for the fourth period decreased in time, Hopewell managed to steal and intercept many Springer drives, converting them into points. The crowd went wild with cheers in support of the Blue Devils.
When Highland Springs called for a couple of strategically-timed timeouts, the latest one with five minutes and 38 seconds remaining, Hopewell head coach coach Jackie Edmonds could be heard telling her team: “Stay aggressive. You’ve got to stay aggressive. Don’t let up. Stay aggressive in this game.”
But the Springers got aggressive as well, taking full advantage of free throws and sharp plays to even the score at 57-57 with 2:57 left in the game.
Highland Springs got ahead of Hopewell before the clock ran out, but Hopewell managed to recover and tie the game back up for a 62-62 score and send the matchup into overtime.
The final moments of the game were decided via free throws. Hopewell pulled through with a victorious final score of 69-66 to the thunderous cheering of the applauding crowds.
“I’m a supporter of the Springers,” said Sarah Crowdin. “But, even though we lost, you can’t complain about this game. It was so close. We almost had it in the basket! Our girls gave it their all and did a great job. Hopewell just had that special magic.”
“I think the girls just wanted it more,” Coach Edmonds said. “They played hard the whole, entire game, and they were aggressive the whole, entire game. They just really wanted this win, and it feels really good.”
As the team, staff and supporters smiled, laughed and cheered around her, Edmonds explained that encouragement goes a long way.
She added that having a “never give-up mentality” helped propel her team to victory.
“That’s what we teach,” Edmonds said. “You play to the very end, until the buzzer goes off, and that’s what we did.”
Edmonds smiled with excitement and said, “I just want to commend the girls on having a great game, not giving up, for playing ‘team ball,’ working together, and trusting each other. Trust is the key and they trusted each other tonight, making really good passes, found the open person and knocked down their shots.”
Tyjana Simmons rocked a team-leading 24 points, Courtney Scott delivered 13 points and seven rebounds, Messiah Hunter added 13 points, eight rebounds and 7 blocks and Alena Pelham chipped in nine points and seven rebounds. Ariel Green and Zy’keiarrah Brooks, the Hopewell coaches noted, played great defense.
Hopewell ultimately won three games in as many days. The Blue Devils turned around on Friday and defeated the Varina Blue Devils 55-42, again in the Juan Stephenson Invitational at Prince George High School. Scott led that game with 24 points and added four rebounds. Simmons contributed 14 points and six steals and Messiah Scott netted 12 points. Ariel Green delivered three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Hopewell concluded the week in the Monacan Basketball Showcase on Saturday with a game versus Glen Allen. The Blue Devils took command early and remained dominant throughout the contest to defeat the Jaguars 44-27. Seven different players scored for the Blue Devils with Pelham and Hunter each scoring 11 points to lead the team.
Hopewell Girls Basketball will host its first home game of the season versus Meadowbrook at Hopewell High School on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:15 p.m.
Hopewell Girls Basketball’s Tatianna Brown (#11) attempts to haul in the loose ball while her teammate Tyjana Simmons (#4) looks on in the Blue Devils’ Monacan Basketball Showcase invitational game versus Glen Allen on Saturday.