The Matoaca Warriors got off to a quick start against the Petersburg Crimson Wave Friday night but the Wave showed resilience in their 68-61 overtime victory to continue their successful season.
Petersburg showed great energy in the opening minutes with an easy layup in the opening seconds. However, the Matoaca shooting caught fire quickly, going on a 9-0 run because Petersburg played behind.
"I scouted them... but they didn't shoot the ball like that the way they did tonight," said Head Coach Ryan Massenburg.
Matoaca pushed the pace throughout the game and outrebounded Petersburg, who is used to controlling the pace. So they had to dig themselves out of the hole. Little by little, Petersburg came back with free throws, stop-and-pop shots, and Chris Fields post moves to earn him 29 points.
Fields were able to cut the deficit by five with a lay-in and and-one. He got a lot of reps below the basket but nothing was dropping since Petersburg could not rebound and get putbacks as they did against Prince George.
But Petersburg pushed the pace a bit and use Fields and Tylik Lawerence's close-range shooting to make it 12-16 at the half. Petersburg was down but they were not out and nothing showed it more than CJ Claiborne playing lockdown defense at the end of the quarter to try and force a turnover.
At the start of the second quarter, it was tight as the Wave tried to fight. While the defense showed up at the end of the first quarter, it seemed to disappear in the second quarter when Petersburg forgot about their defensive assignment, giving up an open layup.
"I told them we just got to keep fighting, keep grinding," Massenburg said of Petersburg's defensive performance.
Now it got into a back and forth between the two squads with no one being hyped more than Lawerence. Petersburg's Kaymeign Lundy fearlessly drove to the basket and scored on the free-throw line, earning him 10 points on the night. Fields went to work too and from the free-throw line, was perfect.
The defense helped create offensive opportunities and in the final minute's senior Bernard Fuller forced a five-second violation with under two minutes. Fuller earned nine points on the night and cut the deficit by two in the final minutes with a reverse layup, fighting through contact.
Petersburg entered the second half down by one. Lawerence opened the third quarter with a three-point shot to take the lead but Matoaca responded with a three of their own.
It was a back-and-forth all night with Petersburg earning their points from the free-throw line or from post moves. Like the previous game against Prince George, it was tight throughout the game put when it was tied at 33, Matoaca pulled away.
Before Petersburg knew it, they were entering the fourth quarter down nine, 35-44. The Wave was not boxing out to get second-chance points.
"Down the road, we can't win games like that...," said Massenburg.
Coming into the fourth quarter, Lawerence wanted to win and wanted his teammates to step up too. With the way he talked to them on the court, he wanted his team to win especially since they had a chance.
Fields and Lawerence were able to cut the deficit, having Petersburg go on a run themselves. But when doing a half-court press Matoaca lobbed a pass, intercepted by George Wilson III who found junior Jamar Hodges under the basket. It was 42-48.
While the Wave as fired up, a slight scuffle from a time out between the two teams forced a technical for Petersburg. It was 42-50 after the free throws were missed and the Wave had to turn up the heat to make it to try and win.
Fields post moves and Lundy layups cut the deficit, resuming a back-and-forth battle. Fuller free throws got them closer after the Warriors' shooting did not seem to stop.
Petersburg was down by seven with 57.9 seconds left on the clock. For a chance to get the ball back, Petersburg had no choice but to foul; however, Matoaca could not make their free throws, leaving Petersburg to muscle their way back in.
It was 58-61 with 15.1 seconds left after Petersburg free throws brought them back in the game. The last two three-point shots bounced off the rim for putbacks or fast breaks. But wide open in the corner, ready for it, was junior Jamari Garnett.
Garnett has not suited up in almost two weeks due to injury and helped the Wave on defense. Ready for the shot Garnett put up a shot that was drained with five seconds left to tie the game at 61.
"That was a big shot by Jamari...," Massenburg said.
For the second time this week, Petersburg had a chance to win it in overtime.
In the opening seconds, it was Matoaca's turn to foul and they turned to Garnett. He missed the first one but extended the lead by one.
Petersburg played a zone in the four-minute overtime because lobs created more chances for turnovers and less able to penetrate, especially since a Matoaca shot would have been a prayer. Matoaca drove to the basket but was wrapped up by Fields who hustled down the court for an easy layup to make it 64-61.
But Matoaca had to still foul for a chance to get the ball back. Even though Petersburg missed a few free throws from the line, they were able to take control of the game and won it 68-61.
Zoe Collins Rath (she/her/hers) is a sports and education reporter for the Progress-Index. For times email her at ZCollinsRath@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @zoe_jordan99.
This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Petersburg overcomes Matoaca in overtime for a 68-61 victory.