No challenge for the Trojans
Shad Blanton scored a career-high 23 points to help the Chase Trojans overcome a slow start and run past the Challenger Firebirds 79-40.
“Shad knocked down some big shots for us tonight,” said Chase coach Joe Jessen. “And the whole team picked up the intensity on defense and that also was big for us tonight.”
The game started out slowly for both teams but Chase broke out to an 8-2 lead thanks to layups from Steven Holland and Caleb Lancaster.
Challenger roared back to tie the game behind six straight points from Khalyl Martin.
Chase answered with a 10-0 run to close the quarter sparked by a pair of Tarrio Young baskets to lead 18-8.
That run continued into the second quarter.
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Lancaster notched a put-back while Blanton nailed a three pointer. Dustin Woodard tried to keep his team in the game with a deep three and a beautiful driving layup to cut the Challenger deficit to 15 points midway through the frame. Blanton then restored order with a strip in the open floor and an easy layup.
Chase then began to use their size to hit the offensive glass. Kyle Bingham, Holland and Lancaster each had put-backs off misses in the latter stages of the half as Chase led 39-17 at the break.
The Trojans continued their good play coming out of the locker room as Blanton hit an immediate three pointer.
Tyrell Boykins followed suit with a three of his own and Lancaster completed the 8-0 run with a hook shot. From that point the teams went on a long stretch of trading baskets as the Trojans still led 60-31 going into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans showed patience in that final frame as the home team went into their version of the four corners offense.
After working the ball around the perimeter, Chase found the soft spot in the zone defense and the three big men took advantage.
After Bingham, Holland and Lancaster each it foul line jumpers, the defense collapsed in the post, allowing Blanton to continue his hot shooting from beyond the arc. Dace Rollins also canned a triple in the quarter as Chase took home a 79-40 win.
In addition to Blanton’s 23 points, Young, Lancaster and Holland each reached double figures for Chase. Martin led the Firebird attack with 19.