In a big-time game with a big-time atmosphere, Petersburg High School brought its No. 1 state ranking into the Dale gym and barely escaped with a 70-66 victory over the Knights.
The overflow crowd included not only a huge contingent of boisterous students, but also VCU head coach Shaka Smart and West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart.
Petersburg came out firing on all cylinders, as the team quickly scored the game’s first 11 points with a combination of three-point shots, tough post moves and a take-no-prisoners defense. A quick timeout, however, seemed to allow coach Eddie Goss to right the ship, as the Knights played the Wave even for the rest of the half.
In the second half, the Knights turned the defense up a notch and began to chip into the Petersburg margin. The lead see-sawed between three and seven points most of the second half, as both teams seemed to take the other’s best shot, much to the delight of the fans.
Finally, in the game’s last minute and a half, Andrew White gained control of a loose ball and gave Dale a chance to gain its first lead of the game. But, a turnover led to an easy Petersburg bucket, sealing the Knights’ fate.
In a battle of titans, Dale’s Malcolm King came up huge with 31 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter. In the end, though, there was just no answer for Quinton Spain. The all-American football star stands 6-feet-6-inches tall and tips the scales at 345 pounds. His combination of power and grace allowed him to tally 30 points while creating havoc in the paint on both ends of the court.
Petersburg coach Bill Lawson, a Matoaca grad, was pleased with the win. “We play hard all the time, but when we get a lead we sometimes need to play a little smarter.” He added, “It was still a great win on the road against a very good team.”