By: Seth Kinker, email@example.com
On Feb. 14 the Chelsea Boys basketball team, 11-5 (9-5), completed the season sweep of rival Dexter, 4-13 (3-10), on senior night after withstanding a huge fourth quarter push by the Dreadnaughts for the 62-55 win.
The last time these two teams met, it was a deep heave from Bulldog junior guard Owen Brown at the buzzer to win the game. Tonight, the Bulldogs had to stave off a late run and hit their free throws in crunch time to come away with the win.
Pace was a key tonight for the Bulldogs as they wanted to play faster this time around and force the Dreadnaughts to play fast too.
“We think were such a different team,” said Bulldog head coach Josh Tropea on the teams’ first meeting to tonight. “Right now, we play with more energy, we get up and down and that was the emphasis. Play with pace and make them play with pace.”
In the first quarter the two teams traded baskets with the Bulldogs holding a 12-9 lead after one. Bulldog senior forward Hunter Neff had five of the Bulldog points and finished with 13 points on the night.
Six different Bulldogs scored in the second as they built a ten-point halftime lead.
A pull up jumper from Dreadnaught junior guard Antwan Ficklen Jr. made the score 22-17 with under three minutes to go in the half but Bulldog senior guard Quinn Starkey answered right away with a three pointer to push the lead back to eight.
Bulldog senior guard Hunter Lay drove baseline for an and one opportunity with 34 seconds left and made it, making the score 28-19. Then, as time expired in the first half, Brown hit a deep
A 9-2 run to start the second half put the Bulldogs in control and forced a Dreadnaught timeout with 4:42 in the third, trailing 40-23. Bulldog junior Adam Hauser had seven of those nine and finished with a team high 19 points on a night where he scored from inside and out.
Tropea told The Sun Times the Dreadnaughts made a good adjustment, but the Bulldogs rolled with the punches and adjusted to that adjustment.
“They started to doubling the post (in the second half) and Adam got to the rim at will,” said Tropea. “He had a huge third, that was because of their respect for our post, he was getting those looks. I understand why they made the adjustment, but Adam was able to adjust to that adjustment and that’s when we separated.”
The Dreadnaughts made a push near the end of the quarter but a Hauser and one, which he made, with 1:06 in the third pushed the Bulldog lead back to 45-31.
Outscoring the Bulldogs 22-11 in the final frame the Dreadnaughts got back into the game by steadily chipping away.
“Quite honestly they made a lot of shots, a lot of good shots,” said Tropea. “We got hesitant and were sitting on the lead instead of stepping on the gas. I blame us as coaches for not going for the throat a bit more. When they started hitting a few buckets we started thinking ‘hey we need to run some clock,’ if anything that took air out of us a bit. I feel like that’s on us as a staff, should have kept it full throttle.”
Dreadnaught senior forward Caden Doll’s lay-up pulled the Dreadnaughts within three, 55-52, with 1:30 remaining.
With 33 seconds remaining Ficklen fouled Starkey who went 1-2 from the line to make it 58-55. After a three point attempt the next time down the floor came up short for the Dreadnaughts, the Bulldogs would seal it at the line and come away with the 62-55 win.
Ficklen led the Dreadnaughts with 13 point with Doll adding 11.
After the game, Tropea touched on how the team wanted to use it as a learning tool with playoffs ahead.
“Any win against your rival is great, that’s a good basketball team,” said Tropea. “They’re well coached. For our seniors to go out 2-0 against them is big. That was one of their goals this year, they wanted to sweep Dexter. They got swept as juniors, so it meant a lot to them tonight. They respect those guys and wanted to get a couple wins. The thing we talked about that we can take away from this is, that’s exactly how a district game will play out. Let’s say we get up 19 versus our district opponent. They’re going to call a timeout and have seven seniors saying, ‘my career isn’t ending tonight,’ and they’re not just going to roll over, they’re going to fight. We’re using this as a positive and that this is what will happen in districts, no one’s going to go away.”
Pictures By Mike Williamson