With their third victory of the season over the Petersburg Crimson Wave last Friday, the Matoaca Warriors won their first regular season Central District Championship in school history. The Warriors won the one game playoff in convincing fashion by a score of 66-47, playing a great defensive game and shooting well from outside the arc.
“It feels good to be in the mix,” said Matoaca head coach Charles Payton. “We took our lumps last year; the youth on the team has turned into experience.”
Last year’s version of the Warriors was a young team with many of the same players, including sophomore guard and leading scorer Devin Morgan, who was all-district performer as a freshman. Matoaca won just five games and suffered five overtime losses.
“Last year we just weren’t a team,” said Morgan. “Our success this year started in the summer league,” he continued. “We worked really hard as a team and we have been dedicated to each other as a team.”
The Warriors have arrived. Matoaca employs balance and athleticism with a penchant for the outside shot. Junior Khalil Coleman, also an important part of the Warrior’s football team plays point guard. Rashard Lewis and Resean Bolton are long and lanky, able to shoot and score, and center B.J. Allen clogs the middle with a big body and patrols the glass.
“All season we told these guys to share the ball and they have,” said Payton. “As a result, all of our guys have played major roles,” he continued. “In our first 13 games we had nine different leading scorers.”
All of this coming from a still young team that won just five games last season. As of press time, the Warriors had won 11 of their last 13 games, and with their win last Friday, have the top seed in the Central District tournament and a berth to the regional tournament.
“It feels great to beat Petersburg and win the district,” said Coleman. “But we had to do it, it was one of our goals to beat Petersburg this season, we just had to do it three times to get here.”
This time the victory was a gritty defensive game by the Warriors, a game in which the Wave went scoreless for the first five and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. The first two match-ups were much closer, as Matoaca held onto both previous victories by counts of 73-71 and 75-74 respectively. Morgan has led the way for the Warriors against the Wave, averaging 21 points per game against Petersburg.
This Friday’s Central District final could feature another matinee of the match-up.
Also bringing home their respective regular season district title were the L.C. Bird boys, who clinched with James River’s loss to Cosby last Friday night, and the Meadowbrook Lady Monarchs who won their second straight Central District girl’s regular season championship. The Lady Skyhawks will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Dominion District tournament behind the Cosby Titans, who finished the regular season 21-1.
District tournaments are already underway and due to press time, early round results cannot be published in the print edition. For full schedules and news check out our twitter @VNewsSports.