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December 28, 2012
Churchland 71, Salem 59: The Churchland Truckers moved to an even .500 at 5-5 overall after beating the Salem SunDevils in the opener of the Second Annual Bulldogs Holiday Tournament at King's Fork High School in Suffolk, VA.
Churchland opened with a 16-13 lead after one quarter of play, but fell behind by double-figures at the half, 35-21 with the SunDevils putting together a 22-5 second period sparked by 5-foot-10 senior guard Ti Land. Land bunched 17 of his 21 points in the first half and turned the ball over only five times as a team before the break.
"It was an interesting first half, I'll tell you that," said Churchland Head Basketball Coach Pat Dulin. "We got some guys in foul trouble early, had some guys come in that don't normally play a lot of minutes for us, looked out of position and I kept preaching to the guys if we can get to the second half we knew our pressure and intensity would get us the victory."
In the third quarter, Churchland outscored Salem 24-5. Their defense, keyed by 5-foot-10 junior Lorenzo Rodgers and 6-foot-3 senior Jaman Hoskie, caused Salem to turn the ball over six times in the period.
"We compete at everything we do and we tried to mix it up defensively. We tried to get out and shoot some passing gaps, try to get the ball out in transition. We're a much better team trying to get up and down the court, and our defense leads to our offense," noted Dulin.
Hoskie posted a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds for Churchland. Lorenzeo Cherry also recorded a double-double for the Truckers with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Rodgers handed out eight assists.
Senior guard Dre Demiel put up 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Truckers put the game away. Demiel, an All-District candidate and four-year starter, is a player Churchland will lean on heavily in hopes of reaching regional.
"We go as far as Demiel is going to take us," Dulin added. "He got two fouls in the first two minutes, had to sit and taking him out of the game takes us out of our offensive flow. He's one of the most under recruited kids in the area, and he's also our floor captain on defense. He believes in the intensity, the scrappiness, the hard work, never had anything given to him and brings that chip out onto the court."
A pair of fabulous freshmen, 6-foot-5 forward Chris Orlina and 5-foot-11 guard Devonte Carter, wowed for the Wolverines as they moved to 4-3 overall. Orlina put forth a superstar performance with 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Carter added 13 points, 11 boards, seven dimes and three steals.
Coach Erick Mays, in year two at the helm at Woodside, likes the future of both players, potential D-1 talents, and in Orlina's case, a possible Top 100 prospect in the country for the Class of 2016.
They're very special players. We're fortunate to have them and they've been working really hard, which is the thing I'm most proud of. We're just trying to become more consistent and we're depending on those guys," Mays said.
"We got off to a really good start, playing good defense and we need that to kind of crank start the offense. When we do that, we can be pretty good. We just finished talking to our whole team about coming of age, no more freshmen/sophomore stuff and we have to grow up."
Air Force signee Trevor Lyons, the younger brother of former Woodside standout and current Air Force player Mike Lyons, set the tone from the very beginning for the Wolverines.
Lyons hit seven of his first eight shots and bunched 16 of his 24 points in the first period while making four steals and connecting on a pair of three-pointers.
"He understands the ins and outs of what we expect, what we need and we're leaning on him hard with that senior leadership," Mays remarked of Lyons. "He's a real veteran guy and an easy guy to turn the keys over to the team with, and let him drive the car. He set the tone tonight, kind of had everybody in the flow and I thought we did a good job."
For the game, Woodside shot 63% and had 23 assists. Meanwhile, Lakeland shot only 3-for-9 from three-point range and got five offensive rebounds, struggling to get many second chance opportunities. The Cavs were led by freshman forward Jaquan Yulee's 16 points, while senior Dexter Davis chipped in 13 and sophomore Kenya Lantham added 10.
Senior guard Tyler Vinsand got the Knights off on the right foot by converting three three-point plays in the opening quarter. Kellam was ahead 20-13 going into the second quarter and went into half-time up by 11 despite not hitting the glass the way they liked. What they did do was limit Granby to just 24% shooting from the field, and for the night, the Comets were ice cold from beyond the arc, going 1-for-17.
Old Dominion commit Ramone Snowden, a 6-foot-5 senior forward and four-year starter for the Knights, put up another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Snowden made his presence felt defensively as well with four blocks and three shots against a Granby team led by 6-foot-5 forward/center Aaron Meredith, one of the area's most improved players.
While Snowden was solid yet again in posting a double-double for the eighth time this year, the Kellam 1-3-1 zone defense bothered everyone for Granby, Meredith included. Meredith had seven points to go with nine rebounds and five blocks.
"In the first half, we didn't do a good job rebounding at all, but in the second half we picked it up and the intensity on defense as well," said Snowden.
Kellam's chemistry was noticeable all night long, recording 12 assists on their first 17 field goals. They made the extra pass with that being defined by their senior leader and captain Snowden.
"It's my nature to look for my teammates and if I do that then things will open up for me. We're very unselfish and look for each other all the time," Snowden went on to say. "We all hung out together my sophomore year and this year we're doing the same thing."
Two years ago, Kellam went 27-1 overall and finished one victory shy of reaching the State Tournament, losing to eventual State Champion Norcom in the regional semifinals. They graduated four starters from that team in Trey Freeman (Campbell), Christian Burton, Ed Reddick and Ross Ward.
Last year's Kellam squad finished with a winning record, but fell to Green Run in the district tournament, preventing them from going to regionals. They came back hungrier and with a purpose not to be denied a regional berth in 2013.
"The difference was how we finished last year. We were very disappointed in our season. That might've been the most athletic team I've ever coached, but we didn't think it out, so we decided this summer we were going to go back to playing smart basketball," admitted Kellam Head Basketball Coach Norman Hassell.
"One of the mottos we started the year off with was we're going to give up good shots to get great shots. It's not about running around like a chicken with your head cut off. We have a system, a structure and it's about being in the place at the right time or you don't play."
King's Fork persevered in the final eight minutes, protecting its home court behind stellar defense in a 55-44 victory to moves their record to 6-3 overall after a 1-3 start to the 2012-13 campaign.
"I think we did just enough to get by and I told them before the game this is not a team you can get up seven, eight, ten and they'll go away. They're not going to go away and it's a Coach [Dennis] Koutoufas team that will continue to fight. That's what happened in the third quarter, and I told them. At that point, I told them now it's your turn," remarked King's Fork Head Basketball Coach Josh Worrell.
"The good thing is they responded in a situation where it got a little touchy there. I felt like we shot too many 3's, too many quick shots against their zone and we could've been more patient."
Carrying the way for King's Fork with senior swingman Byron Taylor out due to disciplinary reasons was senior guard Jacorey Smith. In the first quarter alone, Smith had six points, five steals and four rebounds, putting forth max effort on the defensive end of the floor to ignite the Bulldogs' offense on many occasions.
Smith ended up filling the stat sheet with 14 points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists. On a night where King's Fork shot just 3-for-17 from long distance, his contributions were invaluable.
"He played extremely well tonight and doing those things that a person's going to read in the paper tomorrow and not understand," Worrell noted. "I'm glad he did because unfortunately we didn't really have anybody else who wanted to do that tonight."
Rod Parrett chipped in 11 points for the Bulldogs. Menchville, using a 2-3 sagging zone defense most of the night, got much of its offensive punch from sophomore swingman Richard Washington, who supplied 14 points with 4-of-9 shooting from behind the arc.
Although Worrell was not overly pleased with his team's performance, the Bulldogs did stand out in two areas and that was limiting their turnovers and defensively playing with a lot of fire. King's Fork turned the ball over only eight times the entire night and held Menchville to just two points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
King's Fork's next opponent is Kellam, a team riding a seven-game winning streak into the semifinals of the tourney. The winner there may prevail as Champion of the holiday tourney and take a lengthy win streak into the New Year.
"I told them we're going to see a defense we haven't played against before and a team that is much more disciplined than the one we saw tonight," Worrell went on to say. "Hopefully we'll be ready to play and have a little more energy consistently in that one."
Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail email@example.com, and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1 plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.
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