Hilltoppers outrun Chase, 64-45
The Chase Trojans (4-13, 1-11 SMAC) played solid basketball on Friday night but the R-S Central Hilltoppers (11-9, 5-7 SMAC) just had better athletes and came away with a 64-45 home victory.
Desmond Whiteside was the lynch pin for the Hilltoppers as he collected seven steals in the first half alone to set up fast-break opportunities for his teammates who finished them with flair. The Hilltoppers open the game with a 19-3 run and set the tempo for the remainder of the game.
“They came out strong with us and we got a little shell shocked at first,” Chase head coach Joe Jessen said. “We worked back into the game there in the second quarter and got back in the game but their athleticism just kind of took over.”
Behind Malik Young's eight-straight points, the Trojans were able to cut the lead to 19-11 early in the second quarter before the starters for the Hilltoppers caught their second wind and put the game away.
"I was extremely pleased with our intensity. We executed on both ends of the floor tonight,” Hilltoppers' head coach Greg Wright said. “ Defensively we were very active and in the passing lanes.”
It was another solid night from forward Rashawn Whitesides who finished with 25 points and nine boards. However, it was Jay'len Hollis that provided the evenings entertainment.
Desmond Whiteside was the trigger man for the Hilltoppers' transition game but it was the finishes by the high-flying Hollis that kept everyone on their feet.
The highlight of the evening was a posterizing dunk from Hollis as he cut from the left wing and elevated up and over a Trojan defender and dunked the ball with authority. The roar was deafening, the crowd was buzzing and the Hilltoppers were flying high in the second half.
“The thing that stuck out to me the most was that offensively we were really unselfish, we made the extra passes and found the open man,” Wright said. “That's a good sign for us as we continue on.”
However, there was no quit in the Trojans as they continued to scrap and chip away against the more athletic Hilltopper squad. The Trojans fought for every rebound and lose ball until the final buzzer.
“They were just a little faster to the ball and we had a hard time keeping them off the board,” said Jessen. “Our kids kept plugging away and made it respectable.”
Central returns to action Tuesday at Kings Mountain while Chase hosts Crest on Monday. Both games are set for 7:30 p.m.