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Prep Boys Basketball: Alleyne gives Forge jolt to jump by JM

EAGLES, CHARGERS REACH TITLE

GAME OF COMMONWEALTH CLASSIC

By STEVE FRANZELLO

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

Colonial Forge power forward Ignacio Alleyne is just one of four seniors on the Eagles roster this season.

On Friday night in the semifinals of the third annual Commonwealth Classic boys basketball tournament, he played like one, especially in a key stretch of the second half.

Locked in a battle with James Monroe for two quarters, Alleyene and guard Gary Jennings keyed a decisive second-half run that helped the host Eagles shake off the Yellow Jackets and post a 57–43 win.

The victory advanced Colonial Forge (6–4) to the tournament’s championship game tonight against Chancellor at 8 p.m. The Chargers defeated Deep Run, 56–39, in Friday’s other semifinal contest.

James Monroe (1–3) will take on the Wildcats at 6 p.m. in the consolation game.

Alleyne and Jennings both scored a game-high 16 points to help fuel the Eagles’ victory. Alleyne may have made an even bigger contribution under the backboards with his energetic play.

The 6-foot-3 senior pulled down 13 rebounds to lead Colonial Forge to a 41–33 advantage on the glass. Nine of them came in an important stretch of the second half, when the Eagles withstood a brief surge by the Jackets and expanded a five-point lead to 14.

Colonial Forge never trailed in the game, but was unable to close the deal until the fourth quarter with a strong finish.

With Jennings and Mario Haskins leading the way early, the Eagles jumped out in front in a fast-paced first half. They built a 17–11 lead after one quarter, but a 3-pointer by Alex Baker and a putback by Antonio Edwards cut JM’s deficit to one point (23–22). That was as close as the Jackets could get.

After trailing by 11 at the half, JM pulled to within 36–31 on Steven Bryant’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with two minutes left in the third quarter.

After a timeout, baskets by Jennings and Haskins (11 points) pushed the Eagles’ margin back to double digits and then Alleyne took charge in the fourth quarter.

JM’s Chris Somuah scored on a driving layup to start the period, but Alleyne responded with five straight points inside the paint to fuel a 12–6 run by Colonial Forge and the Eagles never looked back.

“Ignacio really lit a spark,” said Colonial Forge coach Jason John. “He has a motor and is a real workhorse. He’s relentless inside.”

The physical play of Alleyne and the maturation of his young team is something that John hopes continues in the coming weeks, when the Eagles get into the heart of their Commonwealth District schedule.

“We have a young group of kids with some solid senior leadership,” said John. “There’s going to be some ups and some downs. You can’t get too high from a win and too low from a loss, just try to keep getting better.”

Allyene echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“There’s no individuals on this team,” said Alleyne. “We want to win the district and keep going, but we want to do it as a team. That’s our goal.”

JM coach Antonio Coghill saw some positive signs against the Eagles, but knows the Jackets need to improve.

“We need to get stronger and take care of the ball better,” Coghill said. “We’re working hard, but we’ve got a long ways to go yet.”

Bryant led the JM scoring with nine points, while Marcus Finnie, Jarmal Bevels and James McFadden contributed six apiece.

    James Monroe 11 13 7 12 — 43

    Colonial Forge 17 18 8 14 — 57

    Scoring

    James Monroe (1–3): Alex Baker 3, Jarmal Bevels 6, Tevin Brooks 0, Stephen Bryant 9, Antonio Edwards 2, Marcus Finnie 6, Ben Henderson 5, James Johnson 0, James McFadden 6, Tommy Nguyen 2, Chris Somuah 4. Totals: 18 3-4 43

    Colonial Forge (6–4): Ignacio Alleyne 16, Winston Burgess 4, T.J. Flood 2, Jalen Frazier 2, Marco Haskins 11, Gary Jennings 16, Rob Loving 2, DeMarious Quick 0, Isiah Williams 4. Totals: 21 14-25 57

    Three-point goals: James Monroe 4 (A. Baker, S. Bryant, B. Henderson, J. McFadden). Colonial Forge 1 (M. Haskins).

CHANCELLOR 56, DEEP RUN 39

The Chargers used a strong first half to hold off Deep Run and advance to the tournament championship game for the second straight year.

Leading scorer Chris Holmes netted 15 points and Ryan Greer added 10 to lead the way on offense for Chancellor, which improved to 8–1 under coach Rob Reich.

Guard Tim Branin scored 10 for the Wildcats, who managed just 14 points in the first half against Chancellor’s man-to-man defensive pressure.

“We played really well defensively in the first half,” said Reich. “We had great on-ball pressure and help on the side. It wasn’t anything fancy, just man-to-man defense.”

After Saturday’s title game against Colonial Forge, the Chargers return to Battlefield District competition with at game at Courtland on Friday.

    Deep Run 5 9 14 11 — 39

    Chancellor 13 21 15 7 — 56

    Scoring

    Deep Run (4–5): Tim Branin 10, Nick Butz 3, Matt Davis 5, Will Engels 2, Chris Ferguson 1, Eli Gary 2, J.R. Johnson 7, Blake King 2, Stephen Quinn 0, Devonte Lowe 2, Patrick McNermey 0, Aaron Simmons 3, Evan Truman 2. Totals: 15 5-9 39

    Chancellor (8–1): Anthony Alexander 2, Justin Alvarez 0, Dre Edwards 8, Ryan Greer 10, Tre’von Henson 0, Chris Holmes 15, Josh James 9, Matt King 7, James Mickens 0, Jason Morgan 3, Emannuel Royster 0, Jawan Graves 2. Totals: 19 11-16 56

    Three-point goals: Deep Run 4 (T. Branin, N. Butz, M. Davis, A. Simmons). Chancellor 7 (D. Edwards 2, R. Greer 2, C. Holmes, J. James, M. King).

Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440

sports@freelancestar.com

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