Man, am I glad that I made the trip to Prince George, VA last night. The Royals at Prince George High School held their Senior Night, honoring seven ’19 players: Patrick Gee, Maurice Ivory, Jeff Jackson, Jajour Lambert, Cheruad Newsome, Rashel Oliver, and Jacob Thompson. After the pregame festivities, including a creative introduction video, had finished, a flat-out dogfight between Prince George and Matoaca High School (Chesterfield, VA) followed; one of the most tightly-played games I’ve watched all season… it went to double overtime. Prince George hung on to finish victorious in protecting their home floor on a special night. It was a heck of a game; more than worth the ticket. I had a feeling both teams would keep it close, however, considering how they matched up solidly. The Royals now improve to 13-7 overall, while Matoaca drops to 12-8.
Prince George – 82
Matoaca – 80
Some Game Notes
- A lot of patience in half-court offense took up most of the first quarter, before the pace sped up to a much faster tempo for the rest of the game. Paint points worked effectively for both programs, yet Prince George shot the ball a bit better from the perimeter, mainly led by Gee, Lambert, and Tavian Morris ’20. The Royals also ended up mostly successful in winning second-chance opportunities.
- Matoaca went into a full-court press for most of the game but couldn’t really find a way to slow down the Royals’ guards. Lambert’s quickness proved too much to contain; he could split a trap without any real issues. Prince George had several key moments defensively to get stops and draw fouls once the OTs started to happen.
- Standout 6’5” forward Jalen Hargrove ’19 did not dress out for Matoaca last night, as he’s currently nursing a calf injury. The Warriors still performed exceptional without Hargrove’s presence on the court, but I’m confident he would’ve given them even more points and rebounds with his constant activity. He’s acted as the biggest energizer bunny for his team all season. Wing Shaun Kindred ’20 did well in his production to make up for Hargrove’s absence.
- Several clutch plays happened down the stretch. Bryson Kitrell ’21 of Matoaca tied the game at 63 with a high floater in the lane to force the first OT. In the final moments of that next four-minute period, Prince George’s Jacob Thompson ’19 knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing to head into a second OT after Matoaca missed a free-throw that could’ve upped their lead to four. Thompson, Lambert, and Johnny Soto ’20 all combined to complete enough free throws in double OT to narrowly put the game away. Both teams indeed missed many free throws in the second half as a whole… it could’ve resulted as anyone’s game.
Tuesday Night Standouts
Jeff Jackson ’19 – Prince George: The big fella arrived ready to play for his senior night, putting on a strong showing that made it feel like he was EVERYWHERE on the court. Nobody played with a greater motor than Jackson last night… he did his usual work in crashing the offensive glass and relocated especially well to get open for dump downs. His teammates did well in setting him up for finishes, notably in transition. His power makes him a threat to throw it down with authority whenever he sees any small opportunity; he had either four or five dunks last night. I really liked what I saw out of the 6’7” lefty forward… he embraces his role with complete confidence. Finished with a game-high (and efficient) 21 points last night, along with several rebounds.
Tyrese Tingle ’19 – Matoaca: Similar to Jackson, Tingle also had an impressive night in the paint. However, he scored most of his points in a different way by creating his own offense once he secured position; more of a contrast to Jackson’s scoring off of second-chance points and quick finds underneath the rim from teammates. Tingle did a nice job of feeling the defense on his back when he got the ball and then quickly determining which move to make. He has a nice touch on his hook shot and protects the ball well when muscling inside. He can spread the floor a bit with his shooting, although he didn’t shoot all that well yesterday evening during his looks from the top of the key. He posted the sole double-double for Matoaca with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while also swatting away four blocks. Another unsigned senior who picked up an offer from Bluefield State not too long ago.
Patrick Gee ’19 – Prince George: Probably the smoothest scorer on the floor last night, Gee showed everybody how dangerous he can truly be as a three-level threat. It didn’t seem like he took too many shots, but the 6’5” forward nonetheless caught eyes with his excellent efficiency. Gee has a smooth shot that stretches out to beyond the arc and he does well in flashing to the free-throw line area for short turnaround jumpers. He gives Prince George a boost whenever he’s on the floor and a confident veteran presence who can really heat up if he gets going. Once he tightens up his handle a bit and continues to get stronger, he should become a complete scorer and dangerous mismatch. During his entrance with family in the Senior Night recognition, the announcer mentioned that Gee’s committed to play at North Carolina Wesleyan College (Rocky Mount, NC) next season. I see him fitting in quite nicely and making strong contributions quite soon into his college career. Scored 17 points in his Senior Night performance.
Kaleb Coleman ’20 – Matoaca: The Warriors’ floor general had a bit of a rough night physically, he took many hits and had to leave the floor twice due to apparent serious pain. Nevertheless, Coleman stood out in once again showing he’s one of the best facilitators in the area. His court vision and knack for setting up others looks next-level already; it’s almost like he recognizes his teammates are open before they themselves even realize. With that being said, sometimes I honestly feel Coleman’s a bit too unselfish and could look for his own shot more. He’s a fearless attacker at the rim, going down the middle of the lane. Whenever he decided to just go, Prince George couldn’t stop him from getting a look at the basket. Matoaca’s chances at winning always appear the best when their lead guard’s on the floor. He simply has that ‘it’ factor.
Johnny Soto ’20 – Prince George: Soto’s skill makes him a noteworthy player, of course, but it’s his way of thinking the game that looked best. He dictates the Royals’ offense and always seemed to recognize the best play to make. I like how he never forced the issue whenever he had the ball in his hands. Playmaking-wise, he’s quite similar to Coleman as a guy with advanced court vision; those two have been some of the best passers I’ve seen this season. Soto seemed to have a great connection with Jackson, setting the forward up for a majority of his finishes after Soto got downhill in transition. He’s another guy who can break a press by himself, although in a more unique way (when comparing to Lambert) due to how he doesn’t rely on pure speed/quickness. Scoring-wise, Soto’s another unselfish/pass-first guy but started to take over more of the scoring load in the third quarter. Once he develops more of a reliable three-point shot, it’s a wrap. Defensively, he looked the best for Prince George, as he didn’t allow Kitrell to get many looks for Matoaca.
Excellent fight by both teams last night. A complete THRILLER!