Last week the Caroline High boys varsity basketball team went 1-1 losing a heartbreaker to North Stafford 60-58 after giving Chancellor High only its second loss of the season 61-56 on Jan. 14.
In both contests, the Cavaliers played hard against formidable opponents, showing the mettle they developed in practices during the holiday break.
The Cavaliers started slow in the first quarter as they figured out how to navigate the Wolverine 3-2 zone, remaining behind until just under three and a half minutes to go in the half when they took the Wolverines on a 12-2 run to finish the half with the score 34-32 in favor of Caroline.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines led by as much as 7 points with 2:48 seconds left in the game. The Cavaliers fought their way back with Will Howard sinking a 3-point shot to tie the game at 58-58 with 15 seconds left. Jalen Sarratt’s game winning shot with 4 seconds left quieted the Caroline crowd who up until that point had been extremely raucous.
Will Howard led all scorers with 19 points with 2 treys. Following Howard for the Cavaliers was Aason Pankey with 11 points. The scoring for the Cavaliers was 22 11-15 58 (with three 3-point baskets: Will Howard 2, Aaron Lewis )
“I was real pleased with the effort I saw on the court,” said Caroline coach Antoine Johnson after the North Stafford game. “There were times when they didn’t execute as well as they could have, but they didn’t give up.”
Leading the Wolverines in scoring was Cameron Myers with 12 points, followed by Sarratt and Jacob Bochonak each with 11 points. Their scoring for the night showed 23 12-17 60 (with two 3-pointers: J. Bochonak and K. Carter).
Coach Lear of North Stafford commented after the game, “We scouted this team, so we knew a zone would be effective, but that number 34 (Howard) gave us fits. He was good and he broke up our zone. I would like to have a few guys like him.”
N. Stafford 19 13 14 14 — 60
Caroline 14 20 10 14 — 58
The JV Cavaliers were victorious over the JV Wolverines prior to Friday’s varsity game by a score of 56-48.
The game on Jan. 17 was one that showed what the Cavaliers are made of and showed them working together. Consistency is the best word to describe Caroline since the holiday break as players like Jaron Clipper, Darius Young and Mark Loving are ones expected to be consistent, but when a Joe Baker comes off the bench and plays the same, it leaves the conclusion that this team is playing together.
On Jan. 14, the Caroline Cavaliers defeated the Chancellor Chargers 61-56 in a fast-paced game where the Cavaliers overcame one of their worst nightmares: the full court press.
Chancellor started hard and fast with their signature press and capitalized from both the press and fundamental mistakes made by Caroline. Not boxing out and errant passes were the most prevalent of these errors. The game came down to who wanted to win the most and who was playing a stronger mental game.
In a conversation prior to the game, Cavalier point guard Aaron Lewis stated, “We really want to win this game. They don’t have big men, so if we post up we can take them.”
The element of desire was strong throughout the team, but it was strongest in the coach, who stated, “I know they wanted to win bad but not as bad as I did. Chancellor has beaten us seven times in the last two seasons, so I really wanted this one.”
The Cavaliers’ mental toughness assisted them in overcoming fundamental errors made as they constantly fought back from and eventually overcame scoring deficits in the fourth quarter putting the Chargers in a position where they had to foul. Caroline’s accuracy at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter gave the fouling done by Chancellor a sense of futility.
Caroline’s Mark Loving, for the second game in a row, showed marked improvement in his level of play, scoring 13 points. Darius Young, the most consistent of the Cavaliers, scored 13 as well, while Aason Pankey led all players with 14 points. The Cavalier team scoring was 20 16-31 61 with five 3-pointers ( Will Howard 1, Pankey 2 and Young 2).
Chancellor finished the game scoring with 21 12-18 56 and two 3-point baskets (K. Parks 1 and King 1). Jawan Graves’ 12 and King’s 10 point games led the Charger scoring effort.
Caroline 15 15 11 20 — 61
Chancellor 22 10 9 15 — 56
In the JV game, Caroline lost a close one to Chancellor 35-38.