REGION I BOYS: Chargers' drive cut by Clippers
YORK—The Grafton High School boys basketball team wanted to exert its will on Chancellor right away in the Region, I Division 4 championship game Friday night.
The Clippers advanced to the Group AA, Division 4 state championship contest last season and many of the key parts from that team returned.
The Chargers, on the other hand, were making their first appearance in a regional title contest.
It showed from the start.
Chancellor fell behind by 12 points after the first quarter and trailed by as many as 30 before settling for a 68–52 defeat at Grafton.
“We just came out kind of flat,” Chancellor senior forward Chris Holmes said. “We might’ve been too excited we even got here.”
The Chargers (21–7) aren’t done playing, however. They’ll play the winner of tonight’s Region II championship game between Millbrook and Potomac Falls next Friday or Saturday in the state quarterfinals.
Head coach Rob Reich and his players said they can take some positives away from their second-half performance.
Chancellor outscored Grafton (26–2) 35–29 in the third and fourth quarters.
“I think our team learned that we can play with these guys,” Reich said. “We showed it in the second half. We can play with these teams. I think they believe that now. At halftime they didn’t have enough confidence in themselves. But they sure as heck got it back in the second half.”
Grafton senior forward Elijah Moore wanted to demonstrate right away that the Chargers were no match. The 6-foot-7 Moore, who scored a game-high 18 points, drained two 3-pointers in the first few minutes.
He drove the lane to attempt a dunk over the Chargers, but missed. Still, the play helped set the tone as Chancellor trailed 24–12 after the first quarter.
Clippers head coach Jeremy Jordan said his team is “battle-tested” and “excels in the big games.”
“We wanted to try to throw that first punch,” Jordan said. “They’re a good team, a high-quality team, tremendous athletically. I thought we did a great job of getting off to a hot start.”
The second quarter proved to be even more difficult for the Chargers. Holmes sat out nearly the entire period with two fouls.
Holmes said he wanted to re-enter the game, but Reich believed reserve forward Chris Patterson was doing an effective job defensively on Moore.
But with Holmes–an all-Battlefield District performer and the team’s leading scorer–on the bench, the Chargers scored just five points in the quarter.
Meanwhile, Grafton opened up a 22-point halftime lead behind Moore’s 15 points.
“I definitely wanted to be out there,” Holmes said. “But I felt like my team could handle it.”
Holmes was scoreless in the first half, but finished with a team-high 13 points. Junior Ryan Greer added 10 points for Chancellor while guard Dre Edwards contributed nine.
Greer said the Chargers settled for too many outside shots in the first half, but played better in the second half once they started to attack the rim.
They exited the locker room mostly smiles, knowing they’ve gained valuable experience and their season isn’t over yet.
“We just have to take that loss as a learning experience,” Greer said. “We just have to come out in the next game, and be ready.”
Chancellor 12 5 13 22 — 52
Grafton 24 15 16 13 — 68
Chancellor (21–7): Anthony Alexander 0, Justin Alvarez 2, Dre Edwards 9, Jawan Graves 2, Ryan Greer 10, Tre'von Henson 0, Chris Holmes 13, Josh James 7, Matt King 7, James Mickens 0, Jalen Miller 0, Jason Morgan 2, Chris Patterson 0, Emannuel Royster 0. Totals: 19 8-13 52
Grafton (26–2): Lane Deaver 2, Jake Mazgajewski 1, Tyler McMillan 16, Joey Miller 15, Elijah Moore 18, Jesse Santiago 6, Evan Sperling 10. Totals: 24 11-14 68
Three-point goals: Chancellor 6 (D. Edwards, R. Greer 2, C. Holmes, J. James, M. King). Grafton 9 (T. McMillan 2, J. Miller 3, E. Moore 4).
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