- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Lackey head coach Pierre Bland was happy as can be after Wednesday night’s SMAC boys basketball contest and for good reason.
Since earning a 48-40 victory over Northern in the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic at Westlake High School on Dec. 27, the Chargers had suffered four straight losses coming into the contest.
Lackey had an 18-4 run in the third quarter and held off visiting Chopticon in the fourth to grit out a 56-51 win.
Lackey (3-9, 1-2 SMAC) will host Westlake at 7 tonight. Westlake (10-3, 3-0) is on a three-game winning streak after defeating visiting Huntingtown on Wednesday night, 69-63.
“I’m elated right now. it feels good to win. We needed it to get us back on the right track,” Bland said. “I told them coming out of halftime that we couldn’t stop playing and that we had to keep pushing.”
Chopticon, which is now on a five-game losing streak, took a 17-13 lead after the first quarter and had a 30-27 halftime lead. The Braves started off the second half strong, taking a 34-29 lead at the 6-minute 30-second mark of the third, but Lackey would explode on a 16-0 run to take a 45-34 lead entering the fourth.
Lackey senior forward C.J. Redden had a game-high 17 points and was a force inside for the Chargers, along with sophomore guards Austan Gales-Bridgeforth and Eriq Fadahunsi, who made their varsity debuts after being moved up from the junior varsity team.
“It was nice to have guards that can come in and help us like that,” Redden said. “Austan and Eriq are very mature for our age and I think they definitely will help us for the rest of the season. We will see. The third quarter was very important to us because we picked up the pace, and forced some turnovers that helped us create scoring opportunities.”
Gales-Bridgeforth finished with 11 points, scoring nine of them in the first half, while Fadahunsi had seven points.
“Playing varsity is a huge transition,” Gales-Bridgeforth said. “It was an adjustment, but I had fun in my first varsity game. I’m glad that I could help the team win.”
Both of those guys are just fearless and they have speed,” Bland said. “When you watched them on [junior varsity], they were both dominating and grabbing rebound after rebound. They were so committed to their [JV] team, and I felt now was the time was to bring them up. This takes the pressure off of C.J. and they will help us out tremendously.”
Chopticon, which outscored Lackey 17-11 in the fourth period, trailed 50-39 at the 5:30 mark and came to within 50-44 two minutes later .
It then cut the Chargers lead to 52-49, but turnovers in the last two minutes of the game hampered the Braves and they were forced to foul to stop the clock. But Lackey made free throws in the end to hold on for the victory.
Chopticon senior David Mason had a team-high 14 points and sophomore Austin Raines had 12 points in the losing effort.
The Braves are off until Wednesday when they host Thomas Stone in a SMAC contest at 7 p.m.
Chopticon head coach Glenn Larnerd Jr. could not be reached for comment after the game.