Since there was no box score in today's paper, I guess you'll just have to read about last night's game here. Come to think of it, that's what you have to do anyways. Playing with sustained effort and high intensity throughout the entire contest, the young Rebels defeated the Bulldogs of Westfield High School, 62-55, in front of a sizable crowd of vocal classmates. Welcome back Rowdy Rebel Rooters!
Fairfax applied their now-familiar all-over-the-frontcourt defensive pressure right from the opening tip and the Bulldogs didn't respond very well initially. Senior co-captain Jacquez Napper scored the 1st 2 buckets for the Rebels, wearing the white home jerseys for the 1st time in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, he also registered the 1st 2 fouls for the Rebs, within the 1st 2 minutes of the contest, so he got to observe the play of his teammates for the rest of the period from the same perspective as that of the coaching staff. No worries though, as 4 teammates registered in the scoring column in the period, led by super-soph Chase Ackerman, who hit both of his field goal attempts and both of his free throws, and by also-super-soph Josh Abtew, who hit from distance for his 3 points. The homers led 17-11 at the 1st break, following Coach B's pre-game directive to dictate the pace and attack the basket at every opportunity. Ryan Pelczynski, while out shopping for another letter to add to his moniker, instead picked up a charge on an over-zealous Bulldog, registering in one of Coach's important statistical game objectives.
The Rebs scored the first 3 points of the 2nd period to extend their lead to 20-11 and then I think someone mistakenly hit the pause button on the remote. The agile and athletic Bulldogs, fresh off their third consecutive 6A state football championship, showed they could play some ball indoors too, going on a 16-6 run for the remainder of the period, to overtake the homers and head to the locker room with a slim 27-26 lead. Ricky Peters scored directly off an in-bounds play designed for him, Abtew notched 3 more, in the only manner in which that could be done back in my day, and Mdaniel (remember, "the M is silent") Mbangue hit a bucket and both his 1-and-1-ers. The Rebs were in a bit of foul trouble though, as Napper had 3 and Abtew and Ackerman each had 2 after the first half.
During the halftime interlude, a technician was apparently able to solve the pause problem and Fairfax came out of the break once again running and pressing, keeping pace with the fast-moving Bulldogs. There were several lead changes throughout the period, with Westfield ultimately outscoring the white-clads 19-17 to extend their lead to 46-43 at the expiration. After being held scoreless in the 2nd period, Chuckerman found his rhythm again and made 4 of his 6 shots, while Abtew, Peters and senior co-captain Aziz Abousam each had their long-distance requests granted.
The RRR's had Laing Fieldhouse rockin' like it hadn't been in quite some time. And the boys fed off that energy. Well, that, as well as their superior conditioning. Because as the 4th quarter unfolded, one could see the gradual onset of tired legs for the Bulldogs, evidenced by some jumpers and some free throws falling short. The Rebels, and their depth, seized upon the opportunity, continuing their relentless play on the defensive end, hitting their shots while patiently running the offense (they were 4-6 from the field) and getting to the foul line on many of their other opportunities (going 11-16 in the period). Chuckles started things off with a mid-range bucket, Napper notched a whirling dervish-ish bucket from inside that gave me a dizzy spell just watching it, and Abtew tied things up at 49 with 2 freebies from the line. Chase tied it again at 51, Josh tied it again at 53 courtesy of 2 more from the stripe and then Chase followed suit to knot it once again at 55. Running out of pencils here, Wooters wooting themselves hoarse; what else would you rather be doing on a Friday night?! The Napster canned both of his attempts from the line, having been fouled in mid-whirl, and KC Colbert next scored his only point of the night after he was fouled, also in the act. At that point the Rebels led 59-55 and Westfield was done for the night, literally. On KC's miss, Silent Sam knifed in between two B-dogs, grabbed the rebound and scored the bucket to up the score to 61-55 and Aziz polished things off with one more free throw with 13.0 seconds left. A litttle more D, and then the crowd spilled out of the bleachers to mob their friends behind the bench. Been a long time since that happened.
Statistically speaking, Chuckerboy had a career night with 21 points on an exemplary 8-10 from the field and 5-6 from the line. Abtew went 5-5 from the line and hit a couple of 3-pointers as part of his night's total of 13 points, while the Twister totaled 8 points. Living up to his all-defensive team honors from last season, KC gathered in a team-high 7 rebounds, picked 5 pockets and returned 1 attempt to the attempter. He also continued his inexorable (SAT word) climb up the program assist ladder with 7 tonight. And, following the bandleader's example, Mbangue Bhad 5 helpers of his own, setting his career high in that category.
Lest the Rebels get too complacent over this achievement, they have another game to play on Saturday evening, once again on home ice at the Laingster. They entertain the Lancers of Lee High School, next door neighbors to Springfield Mall (does anyone go there anymore?). Coach B had 2 admonishments (bonus SAT word) in the locker room after tonight's game: 1) rest up, cuz it's hard to play back-to-back nights with the same intensity like the Rebels do, so it will be all-hands-on-deck on Saturday, and 2) if you don't wash your uniform tonight, at least hang it up and let it drip-dry!
I'm not sure I'm gonna go in the locker room Saturday, but I'll be sure to look for you in the stands. And remember, you still have plenty of time to put up the tree, buy/wrap gifts, etc. so don't worry; tell your spouse I said so. Woot for the Webs. Thank you.