Freedom downs Trojan men
In a matchup of Freedom’s speed and Chase’s size, speed came away with a resounding victory as the Patriots downed the Trojans 92-46 Friday night.
“I want to give Freedom credit, they forced us to do exactly what we did not want to do and that was run,” said Chase coach Joe Jessen. "They controlled the tempo from the start and you saw what happened."It’s as simple as that.”
Freedom (13-3, 3-2 SMAC) used its speed to race to an early 6-0 lead behind Chris Bridges. Chase (9-5, 2-3) settled down by going inside to Caleb Lancaster and Steven Holland for baskets.
But Freedom’s five guards were just too quick. Darrion Evens continually drove to the basket. When he did not score he dished off to Bridges or Khris Gardin who connected on a series of mid range jumpers. Shad Blanton broke a long Freedom run with a pair of layups but by then Freedom already had a 29-12.
The second quarter was more of the same as Freedom continued to dictate the tempo while their pressure resulted in several Trojan turnovers. The defensive pressure also limited Chase to six points in the quarter as Freedom led 54-18 at the break.
Chase showed more patience to start to the third quarter getting baskets from Trey Watkins and Blanton after extended processions. The Patriot defense bucked down as Freedom held the Trojans scoreless over the next five minutes of the game. As a result, Freedom continued to pull away behind Evens, Bridges and Gardin. By the time the dust settled Chase trailed 82-28 going into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans did show signs of life in the final frame as they finally found some rhythm. Blanton connected on a deep three and then drove the lane where he delivered a dish to Holland for the easy layup. Chase continued to play well down the stretch as Watkins and Kyle Bingham hit the glass as part of a 6-2 run in the final 90 seconds that helped the Trojans outscore Freedom 18-1 in the fourth quarter to account for the 92-46 final
“I think you saw what kind of team we can be in the fourth quarter,” Jessen said. “The team is upbeat and I think we can carry that momentum into a big game with East Tuesday night.”
Thanks to seven points in the fourth quarter, Blanton led Chase with 17 points while Evans had 20 for Freedom.