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Prep Boys Basketball: Chargers top Cavs
By STEVE FRANZELLO
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The Chancellor boys basketball team is off to one of its best starts in years. On Friday night in their Battlefield District opener against visiting Caroline, the Chargers showed why.
With reigning district player of the year Chris Holmes leading the way with 27 points, the unbeaten Chargers fought off the pesky Cavaliers and posted a 67–54 win. It was their fifth straight victory under new coach Rob Reich.
“These kids are focused and they’re working hard,” said Reich, who was an assistant with the program last year. “We have a lot of flexibility and we have 11 or 12 guys who can play.”
The Chargers used that depth and flexibility to their advantage against the scrappy Cavaliers, who led on several occasions and trimmed a 13-point deficit to just five with four minutes left.
But a near-perfect shooting performance in the fourth quarter and a solid effort by the Chancellor defense in the second half were more than Caroline (2–4, 0–2) could overcome.
“We made too many mental mistakes tonight, especially in the first half,” said Cavaliers coach Antoine Johnson. “We have to correct those.”
The athletic Holmes tallied 15 of his points in a see-saw first half that featured six lead changes.
Caroline trailed 19–17 heading into the second quarter, but rallied behind Deon Scott (19 points) and Dre Parker (10) to take a 24–19 lead.
But Holmes scored the next six points and then assisted Matt King on a layup to put the Chargers back in control, 27–24. It was an early statement that Chancellor repeated again in the second half after the Cavaliers rallied one more time.
“Caroline is an aggressive team,” said Chargers senior Chris Patterson, who contributed 12 points and key rebounds to Chancellor’s
34-point second half. “They hop on the ball and stay in your face.”
Several other players made contributions to Chancellor’s success in keeping the Cavaliers at bay in the second half.
Forward Ryan Greer was a mainstay on the backboards all night with 10 rebounds and a solid presence inside. Along with Holmes, who also grabbed 10 rebounds, Chancellor enjoyed a 40–31 advantage on the glass. Parker’s seven rebounds were high for Caroline.
“We have a lot of people contributing,” Holmes said. “This year everybody can do something on the floor. We’re in the flow right now.”
They made that flow work in the second half, but not before Caroline made things interesting late in the fourth quarter.
With their defensive pressure picking up, the Chargers appeared on the verge of pulling away early in the period. Patterson converted two free-throws to give them their biggest lead (52–39).
Caroline responded with a 10–2 run behind the play of Scott and Parker. Scott’s 3-pointer from the right of the key made it 54–49 at the 4:02 mark.
But the Chargers’ accuracy at the foul line was the difference in the final minutes. Led by Holmes’ 6-for-6 effort, Chancellor converted 11 of 12 free-throws down the stretch to seal their first district victory.
“We hung around and then our defensive pressure got us in front,” Reich said. “But what did it was our execution at the end and then making our free-throws.”
Holmes and the rest of the Chargers are excited about the fast start this season, but they’re far from being satisfied.
“It’s good to be 5–0,” Holmes said. “We wanted to start off with a district win. But we’re hungry. We’ve got a long way to go yet.”
The Chargers travel to King George on Tuesday, while the Cavaliers visit Spotsylvania on the same night.
Caroline 17 14 8 15 — 54
Chancellor 19 14 14 20 — 67
Caroline (2–4, 0–2): Devonte Freeman 6, Will Howard 3, Aaron Lewis 3, Bevontae Morris 0, Aason Pankey 5, Dre Parker 10, Daquan Pollard 8, Micah Robinson 0, Deion Scott 19, Deon Ware 0. Totals: 22 6-10 54.
Chancellor (5–0, 1–0): Anthony Alexander 5, Justin Alvarez 0, Dre Edwards 4, Ryan Greer 5, Tre’von Henson 0, Chris Holmes 27, Josh James 6, Matt King 8, Jalen Miller 0, Jason Morgan 0, Chris Patterson 12, Emannuel Royster 0. Totals: 22 21-28 67.
Three-point goals: Caroline 4 (A. Lewis, A. Pankey, D. Scott 2). Chancellor 2 (C. Holmes 2).
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440