In what most would call a one horse race, there are still six teams playing meaningful basketball for seeding in next week’s Central District Tournament. Two of those teams, Meadowbrook and Thomas Dale have been chasing juggernaut Petersburg all season long, helping to develop a rivalry along the way. After a earlier defeat at the hands of the Knights, the Monarchs forced turnovers in the third quarter to pull away and beat Thomas Dale 85-74 last Friday night.
“Teams two through eight can beat each other this year,” said Meadowbrook head coach Ksaan Brown. “With this win we feel more confident.”
That confidence also comes from the stretch that Meadowbrook has had lately. Since a January 12th upset of Highland Springs, Meadowbrook has won six of their last eight games. The losses include a game in which the Monarchs led in the 4th quarter against John Marshall and to Petersburg, who came out hot, but the Monarchs were able to fight back to make it respectable at 91-82. One of the six wins is over L.C. Bird, who is pushing to contend for a another shot at the state title this year. Meadowbrook defeated Bird at home Monday before last 83-79.
Senior Ahmed Fofana, who has been a force for Meadowbrook all season led all scorers against Thomas Dale with 24 points, and is averaging 22 points per game this season.
“We’ve lost a lot of pieces this season,” said Fofana. “But we preach about heart and to never back down.”
Despite three of Meadowbrook’s best players transferring to private schools, that attitude has the Monarchs on a hot streak that’s a team effort- the Monarchs have also received great all-around play from sophomore guard Brandon Cheeks. With just Colonial Heights left on the schedule, a win will lock up the two seed in the tournament for the Monarchs. With the exception of Petersburg and their undefeated record, pretty much every team has beaten each other at some time or another this season. Also, for the first time this season, the top team in the regular season receives a first round bye. This means that Colonial Heights, the last team in the standings will not qualify for the postseason. All things considered, it seems that this year’s edition of the tournament has it’s chance for memorable moments.
Last year’s tournament moments were a huge upset as the Knights defeated Petersburg 92-91 before falling to Meadowbrook, who won their first district title in school history.
The tournament is being held at Matoaca High School, semi-finals on Thursday evening starting at 5:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and the final on Friday at 7:00 p.m.