CHESTER – The Caroline High School Cavaliers played a pair of nondistrict basketball games to start the 2012-13 season, but poor shooting doomed the Cavs to losses in both contests.
Playing in a tournament hosted by the Thomas Dale High School Knights in Chesterfield County, Fork Union Military Academy defeated Caroline 66-48 Friday night last week after the Knights toppled the Cavaliers by a score of 79-47 the previous evening. The losses gave Caroline a 0-2 overall start to the season.
Against Fork Union, the Cavaliers took their hard-driving style of play against a much taller team. Caroline dug itself a hole in the first quarter from which it could not emerge although the Cavaliers played Fork Union even the rest of the game.
Caroline was undone by Jalen Harris, who scored 31 points, including five free throws, to lead Fork Union. Chrystan Braun added 15 points for Fork Union.
Junior Will Howard scored 18 points to lead Caroline, and nine other players contributed to the scoring.
Fork Union took a 25-8 lead after one quarter. Although the Cavaliers played them even the rest of the way, they could not overcome the early deficit.
“I was pleased with the way they played,” Caroline coach Antoine Johnson said of his team. “They played hard the entire 32 minutes.”
Other than the prolific scoring performance by Harris, the Cavaliers matched Fork Union except for the first quarter, noted Johnson.
Forward Kavon Waller scored 28 points to lead the Knights in their victory, and Andrew White added 15 points. It was the second win in as many games for the Knights, an AAA team that was 8-6 in the Central District last season. Caroline was led by Aason Pankey’s 15 points and Dwandre Parker’s 12 points.
Waller sparked two runs by the Knights, and the Cavaliers managed only 7 points in the second quarter and 9 points in the third quarter as Thomas Dale surged ahead and took control.
With the Knights holding a 20-14 edge after one quarter, Waller scored a trey and two baskets to ignite a 14-1 run in the second period. His layup with about a minute left capped the run and gave the Knights a 38-20 advantage.
Thomas Dale led 41-20 at the break, and Waller made a repeat performance in the first part of the third quarter as the Knights widened the gap. Collin Fleischer drove the baseline for a layup to start things off at 6:50, and Waller added two field goals, a 3-pointer, and a free throw. A foul shot by A.J. Holliday gave Thomas Dale a 56-23 cushion at 3:37.
Caroline managed a brief rally in the final quarter. After Fexlot Culmer made a bucket in the paint to give the Knights a 71-30 advantage, their biggest lead of the night, the Cavaliers scored the next 10 points. Pankey sank two free throws to start the run, and he made a layup, and stole the ball and drove to the hoop for a second layup for six points in the spurt, which was capped by Tyler Dudley-Paige’s layup to pull Caroline within 71-40 at 4:27.
Waller had five steals and four assists to go with his 28 points, which included three 3-point shots, and Fleischer led both teams with 14 rebounds.
Pankey, Bevontae Morris and Deion Scott had 3-point baskets for Caroline.
Henrico defeated Fork Union 97-73 in the opening game on the first night of the tourney.
Johnson said he scheduled games against tough opponents before district play begins because “I wanted them to have this learning experience playing against teams that played a higher level of ball.”
“This was definitely a learning experience for us,” Scott said of the loss to Thomas Dale, “but we will be better down the stretch as a result.”
A home game scheduled against Essex on Tuesday of last week was canceled.
This week the Cavaliers were scheduled to host King William Tuesday and visit Essex on Friday.
Next week the Cavaliers are scheduled to visit King William on Monday. Then they begin their Battlefield District schedule, hosting Courtland on Tuesday and visiting Chancellor on Friday.