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BOYS BASKETBALL: Chargers keep Foxes at bay
Chancellor has won seven of its first eight games this season to take early control in the 4A–North Conference 22 race.
The Chargers’ latest victory at King George on Friday night featured a now-familiar script for coach Rob Reich’s deep, athletic squad.
After battling the Foxes on even terms for much of the night, Chancellor used a late 10–2 scoring spurt in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 58–52 win and remain unbeaten in conference play.
The Chargers (7–1, 4–0) also converted 25 of 32 free-throw attempts and posted a big advantage on the backboards to help turn back the aggressive Foxes.
“Tonight was definitely a game of spurts,” said Reich, who is in his second season as the Chargers head coach. “Those kids that gave us that spurt in the fourth quarter took the game from being close to putting it over the top and capping it for us.”
The decisive spurt came with four minutes left in the quarter and the Chargers clinging to a 42–41 lead. Reserve Derek Reiley got the run started with a steal and driving layup, and then finished it with another fast-break basket to put Chancellor in front, 52–43.
The nine-point cushion was the Chargers’ biggest lead of the game and provided them with just the lift they needed to fight off the pesky Foxes in the closing minutes.
On Wednesday, they used a similar late-game run to overtake and then outlast Mountain View, 79–73, in overtime.
“It’s a little weird. It seems every game we’ve played we get it going with a spurt in the fourth quarter to take the lead,” said Chancellor guard Josh James, one of eight seniors on the team.
James scored a team-high 11 points to lead a balanced Chargers’ attack that featured contributions from nine players.
Reiley contributed 10 points, and Emmanuel Royster and Malik Greer nine each. Greer also grabbed eight rebounds to help Chancellor record a 44–30 advantage on the glass.
Despite the loss, King George (5–4, 1–3) showed its mettle under new coach Darren Berkley.
Matching the Chargers’ full-court press with their own defensive intensity, the Foxes built a 13–12 lead after one quarter and led by as many as seven points before halftime.
Back-to-back steals and a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks by super-quick Anthony Howard pushed King George’s lead to 20–13 with five minutes left before the break.
Howard, the area’s second-leading scorer, was one of three Foxes in double figures with with 10 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Lakin Hall led the way with 13 points, and center Jason Yowler chipped in with 11.
Down by seven points, the Chargers regained their lead with a 15–6 scoring run that put them back on top, 28–25, at the half.
They never trailed in the second half, although King George did trim the lead to one point with a pair of 3-point baskets by Eian Chase and Hall early in the fourth quarter.
But Reiley’s steal and layup at the 4:16 mark started the 10–2 scoring spurt that carried the Chargers to victory. Matt King, Greer and Royster also figured in the decisive run.
Like they have been all season, depth and balance were key factors in Chancellor’s success. Reich used an 11-man rotation and it paid dividends, especially on defense, where the Chargers’ full-court press helped force 20 turnovers by the Foxes.
“We’ve got a lot of balance and depth on this team,” Reich said. “What’s really nice is that somebody different is always stepping up, even in the fourth quarter.”
They’ll need that depth and versatility in the coming days. The Chargers play four games in the next seven days, starting with a visit to James Monroe tonight.
“We want to take it all the way, this year,” Greer said. “We just have to play hard and play that way for four quarters.”
King George returns to action on Monday with a home game against Massaponax.
Chancellor 12 16 13 17 — 58
King George 13 12 10 17 — 52
Chancellor (7–1, 4–0): L.J. Brown 0, Michael Coney 0, Jawan Graves 5, Malik Greer 9, Duke Hawkins 0, Josh James 11, Matt King 4, Jalen Miller 2, Kevin Parks 2, Jaire Perry 6, Quincee Pfost-Banks 0, Derek Reiley 10, Emmanuel Royster 9. Totals: 16 25-32 58.
King George (5–4, 1–3): Qu’Shaun Allen 0, Jay Buckner 0, Eian Chase 7, Lakin Hall 13, Anthony Howard 10, Trevor Lyburn 0, Sam Sharpe 7, Jecolby White 4, Jason Yowler 11. Totals: 18 10-13 52.
Three-point goals: Chancellor 1 (J. James). King George 6 (E. Chase, L. Hall 3, A. Howard, S. Sharpe).
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440