football

Wakefield Beats Potomac, Wins 5A-North

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style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>5A-North
Region Tournament Championship:
Final - - #1 Wakefield 70,
#1 Potomac 66

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For the first time this season, someone was able to
beat the Potomac Panthers. All year
long, they've been ranked #1 in the state of Virginia in Group 5A and labeled
as the favorite to hoist the State Championship trophy in March.
style=> However, on the first day of the month, they
fell to 26-1 overall as the Wakefield Warriors edged them, 70-66 in the
5A-North Region Championship in front of a packed to capacity crowd in
Arlington.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We came into this game and had no pressure on us.
style=> The pressure was on them because they were
undefeated. We just played our basketball,"
stated Marqua
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Walton of Wakefield, which has now won
14 in a row after a 10-4 start to the season.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Although it was not an elimination game since both
teams had already clinched berths to the State Tournament, each squad treated
it like it was do-or-die. The
back-and-forth battle consisted of 22 lead changes, nine coming in the fourth quarter
alone as the two title contenders traded big plays down the stretch.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Wakefield (24-4) survived the first quarter with star
junior center Dominique
class=SpellE>Tham, named the 5A-North Region Player of the Year to
go with his Capitol Conference Player of the Year award, picked up two early
fouls. They went ahead by four late in
the opening period on a coast-to-coast lay-up from senior wing
class=SpellE>Re'Quan
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Hopson, who was coming off a
career-high 29 points vs. Broad Run in the regional semifinals.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>As expected, Potomac responded.
style=> Despite George Mason signee
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Trey Porter picking up his third foul
at the 1:43 mark of the second quarter, the Panthers outscored Wakefield 19-11
during the third period. That gave
Potomac a 47-45 advantage going into the final stanza.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Porter finished up with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting
along with six rebounds and four blocks.
Fellow senior Randy Haynes,
the Conference 15 Player of the Year, scored 11 of his 17 points in the second
half to go with seven rebounds.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>With the Panthers poised to pull away up four with six
minutes to play, Wakefield never blinked.
The Warriors got the ball inside to Tham when
they needed to, and consistently found ways to get to the free-throw line.
style=> Walton scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth
quarter, and twice Tham scored with under two minutes
to play to give the Warriors the lead, doing so for good with 27 seconds
remaining.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Basically, we told our kids when they punch us in the
face and black our eye, then we have to punch them n the nose and bloody it,"
remarked Wakefield Head Basketball Coach Tony
Bentley, whose team is making its second straight trip to the State
Playoffs.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I've been in this same situation like Potomac,
undefeated in 2005; we were 26-0 going into the regional Championship [and]
pulled it out. No matter what happens,
we're still playing next week. Let's go
out and have some fun. They're
bigger. One-on-one, they're probably
better. But as a team, we're pretty
tough. I'm excited for the guys to not
back down."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Potomac will travel to the 5A-South Region
Championship, which will either be Maury or Henrico.
style=> Those two teams face off now on Tuesday night
at Churchland High School in Portsmouth.
style=> If Maury wins, the Panthers will play them at
ODU. If Henrico wins, they'll square off
at VCU. Wakefield plays the loser of
Maury/Henrico on March 8th at Noon at Robinson.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
mso-highlight:yellow'>Player of the Game:
style=> Wakefield G Jalen Carver - - Any one of
about four players could get the nod here for Wakefield, but perhaps the most
unexpected offensive boost came courtesy of Carver, the team's fourth leading
scorer on the season at 9.9 points per game.
Furthermore, he's not really known for his outside shooting with 17
makes coming into the tilt, yet made three critical three-point shots in the
first half while Tham sat much of the second quarter
in foul trouble.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I just came out really aggressive," said Carver, a
5-foot-9 senior guard. "The focus was
not to be scared. They usually win games
off their name, their record and everybody's scared."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>On the night, Carver finished with 18 points on 5-of-6
shooting from the field, didn't miss a foul shot and matched his season-high
for 3's made in a game. With the team
down six at intermission, his 12 first half points kept them afloat when a lot
of teams might've been sunk vs. Potomac.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
mso-highlight:yellow'>Keys to Victory:

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>#1
- - Get Potomac in Foul Trouble:
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
style=> In the second half, Potomac played with
Porter, Haynes, Keijon
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Honore and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>T.T. Felder all in foul trouble.
style=> That's four starters that had to be extra
careful in the closing minutes, and Wakefield took advantage at the foul line.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Early in the season, the charity stripe was an area
Wakefield was very weak in, but lately they've made their opportunities there
count when it matters most this postseason.
They made 21-of-25 from the foul line.
That included 14-for-15 in the fourth quarter with Walton (their best
three-point shooter with 78 3's) going 8-for-9.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>But it clear that going at Porter, putting him in foul
trouble and making him a bit tentative because of that on the defensive end
worked in the Warriors' favor greatly.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Domo has played against guys
size with size before, so I wasn't really worried about that matchup," said
Bentley. "I was worried about the Haynes
[and] how Re'Quan Hopson would step up and take the
challenge."

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
#2 - - Throw a Wrinkle at Them:
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Out
of the gate, Wakefield utilized a matchup zone on Potomac and it took the
Panthers until midway through the second quarter to really get in a rhythm
offensively. The Warriors even flashed a
1-2-2 look in the fourth quarter.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We couldn't play those guys man-to-man for a full
game, so we did something Wakefield never does.
We went to a zone. It was
effective," stated Bentley. "They got
easy buckets, but we had to convert on the other end and I thought we did a
good job."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>More than anything else, the zone kept Potomac from
having its way in the paint or getting to the free-throw line.
style=> Wakefield outscored them 18-12 in the paint
in the first half. The Panthers were
8-for-11 from the charity stripe for the night, and they ended up shooting
6-for-19 from three-point territory.

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
#3 - - Get Everyone Involved:
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>It
was far from a one-man show for Wakefield.
Tham is the headliner as he and Walton scored
18 apiece. Carver added and Hopson
chipped in 11.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Four different starters scored in double-figures for
the Warriors, all of them shooting above 50% from the field.
style=> In fact, they were a combined 21-for-31.
style=> As a group, the Warriors shot 5-for-10 from
three-point range.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In crunch time, Wakefield performed like a team that
has been there before because, well, they have.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"[Asst.] Coach [Horace]
Willis and I have been together for
18-19 years and this is the first time we've had guys come back with
experience. These guys were all in the
State Tournament last year," Bentley noted.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They don't care who scores the most points.
style=> Our whole motto is it's so amazing what we
can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.
style=> As long we get the W, that's all that
matters."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Senior point guard Kyle
Davis, a transfer from Washington-Lee in the off-season, helped the
Warriors make this Key to Victory possible.
Even with only four points, Davis handed out seven assists and the
offense never hit a dry spell, something that often dooms teams when they go up
against Potomac with their superior size on the front-line.

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Final Stats:

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Wakefield
Warriors 70:
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
style=> (24-4)
Dominique Tham - - 18Pts. 7-11FG, 4-4FT, 9Reb. 3Ast.
3Blk.
Marqua Walton - - 18Pts. 5-7FG, 2-4 3's, 3-4FT, 4Reb.
2Ast.
Jalen Carver - - 17Pts. 5-6FG, 3-4 3's, 4-4FT
Re'Quan Hopson - - 11Pts. 4-7FG, 3-4FT, 4Reb.
Kyle Davis - - 4Pts. 1-4FG, 2-3FT, 5Reb.
class=GramE>7Ast. 4Stl.

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Potomac
Panthers 66:
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
style=> (26-1)
Trey Porter - - 23Pts. 9-13FG, 5-6FT, 6Reb. 4Blk.
Randy Haynes - - 17Pts. 7-17FG, 3-5FT, 7Reb. 3Ast. 3Stl.
Torrey Dixon - - 13Pts. 5-13FG, 3-9 3's, 2Ast.
T.T. Felder - - 5Pts. 2-4FG, 5Reb. 6Ast.

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>

 

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style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as State Basketball Analyst for
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Network. Check out
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