Chesterfield Community High School basketball head coach Toby Campbell has seen a lot of firsts in his day.
He’s seen the school’s first basketball team; the program’s first player to play collegiately; the first Tri-Rivers district championship; the school’s first 1,000-point scorer and multiple runs deep into the postseason for his Eagles. Now, Chesterfield Community has a mascot for the first time.
That mascot can only add to the Eagles’ home-court advantage, as historically they play very well at home. This year is no different, and they have earned a 5-0 record at home.
“It really builds morale for the school,” said Campbell. “We now have a pep squad and a mascot, and it really gets the whole school involved, and that’s the goal. Alyson Tylus and Wendy Gonzalez have done a great job working with the students.”
Chesterfield Community will go forth with its mascot and yet another successful team fielded by Campbell. The students will vote on the mascot’s name. Three different students will man the mascot this year, though the duty will fall primarily to Saiquan Crute.
In the mascot’s debut last Friday night, Community was able to defeat the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School soundly by a score of 60-17.
Chesterfield employed tough defense, as the Dragons were held to two two-point quarters. In the first, the score remained close for a while, but Community pulled away in the last two minutes, extending its lead to 11 by the end of the quarter. In the second period, Community doubled its lead on the strength of an 11-0 run to close the half, leading 29-7 going into the break.
In the second half, it was more of the same, as turnovers were rampant for the Dragons. At one point in the fourth quarter, ARGS was scoreless for nearly six minutes; the game ended on that drought.
Richard Smith, a 6-foot-7-inch junior who verbally committed to Kent State over the summer, added eight points and nine rebounds in three periods of play, as the bench got big minutes.
“The guys were going crazy on the bench for the guys that don’t get a lot of playing time,” said Campbell. “I like that, that’s something you want to see a lot of.”
Recent Chesterfield teams may be remembered for featuring a fast-paced offense and scorers such as David Copeland. This year’s team has its own version of Copeland in guard Cequan Jones, who is averaging 21.6 points per contest.
One might find that this year’s squad is a little more tenacious on defense. The Eagles have employed more man-to-man defense and, according to Campbell, this is an art his team is improving at.
“People don’t really expect us to play man-to-man,” explained Campbell. “Maybe a zone or something, but our man-to-man defense has really started to come along and has worked well for us.”
Over the last three games, all district bouts, Community has limited Franklin, Sussex Central and ARGS to a measly average of 30 points per contest. Community is off to an 8-2 start, and has yet to lose a district game. Community’s losses came to Hopewell and Brunswick, which is led by former Denver Nuggets guard Bryant Stith.
“We’re very pleased with our progress as a team this season,” said Campbell. “We need to keep this going, and hopefully make the playoffs.”
Community will face a test Friday night as the undefeated Panthers from Charles City come to town in a mid-season battle for first place. The Charles City offense averages about 70 points per contest as of press time and has not scored fewer than 59 points in a game this season.
AROUND THE COUNTY
In other local basketball action, a surging L.C. Bird High School boys’ team dispatched previously undefeated Monacan High School to take over first place in the Dominion District, while the girls dropped a close decision to Monacan, 50-57. The Lady Knights of Thomas Dale High School, who boast a 9-1 record, took care of business last week with wins over Prince George and Colonial Heights, while the boys split two road games, losing at Hopewell and winning at Colonial Heights. The Lady Monarchs of Meadowbrook High School, who are responsible for the Lady Knights’ lone loss in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament and are also 9-1, took care of the same two opponents. The Meadowbrook boys continued their success this year with high-scoring wins over Dinwiddie High School and Matoaca High School.They currently rank third in the Central District behind Hopewell and perennial power Petersburg. And, finally, the boys and girls of Matoaca both lost their contests this week; both appear to be in the midst of rebuilding seasons.