Local rivalry games started early in the 2014-15 basketball season as Douglas County and Chapel Hill squared off Saturday evening at DCHS. The Tiger boys maintained a small lead through most of the game against Chapel Hill, eventually winning, 66-53.
In the early game, The DC girls put in a dominating performance against the Lady Panthers, holding a commanding lead from the first period on and winning 75-35. The victory was head coach Chet Forsh’s 550th of his career.
The DC faithful, led by athletic director Andre Weaver, along with several former players, honored Forsh after the game.
“I knew they were going to do something and I really appreciate it,” Forsh said. “I’m glad to have 550 but I don't really focus on the number as much as each game.”
In Saturday’s game, the Lady Tigers rolled out to a 9-0 lead in the first period. Kembria Mays started the scoring with a jumper for two, followed by a layup from Santasia Faust, a 3-pointer from Amira Atwater and a jumper from Arsula Clark.
Three minutes into the game, Chapel Hill scored its first points on a jumper by Alexia Wallace. After Atwater hit her second three, Chapel Hill scored seven straight points. Alex Weems scored five of the points, hitting two layups and picked up a plus-one. The rest of the period became a free throw contest with both teams going to the line a total of six times. As the period ended, DC led 16-11.
Faust came out and knocked down a 2-pointer for the Lady Tigers to open the second period. After four free throws by Chapel Hill, DC went on an 18 point run, led by the hot shooting Atwater. Atwater scored nine points, hitting two layups, a long jumper, and a 3-pointer. Faust scored five points, hitting two layups and going 1-for-2 from the line. Douglas County led, 36-15.
The Lady Tiger domination did not end there. Chapel Hill was outscored 5-1 over the next minute as Mayes hit a layup and converted on the plus-one. Ashanti Brown scored two points. Chapel Hill’s Lauren Owens managed to hit a free throw, which stopped the initial run. The second period ended with Douglas County up, 41-20.
With the score at 45-25 in the third period, DC went on another run, this one for for 11 points. Atwater scored eight points in a row, hitting a two-pointer, and then knocking down two from beyond the 3-point line. DC started subbing in during the third period but held a 62-32 lead as the game moved into the final six minutes of play with the mercy rule in place.
The Lady Tiger starters did not play in the fourth period.
Weems had a team high eight points for the Lady Panthers despite fouling out with two minutes remaining in the game.
DC’s Atwater led all scoring with 26 points. She hit six 3-pointers. Faust followed with 14 points. Kennedy Curtis did a good job playing inside all night.
“Kennedy played strong and that is something I emphasized with her last year. Play stronger and be a little bit more aggressive,” Forsh said. “Atwater was on fire and what I liked most is that the team figured it out quickly and made sure to find her. That is the big thing about a team, you find the hot hand and you get it in her hand.”
In the boys game, DC opened with a seven point run. Devarion Clark tipped in the first shot and Kalen Clifton followed with a layup. Davis went 1-for-2 from the line and K’JA Johnson threw down a dunk on a breakaway. Chapel Hill ended the streak with a pair of free throws by Efe Balfour, but they did not slow down the Tiger offense.
Douglas County outscored Chapel Hill 10-2 over the next two minutes. Corey Tillery hit back-to-back 3-pointers. After a layup from Chapel Hill’s Austin Williams, DC’s Brandon Robinson and Johnson slammed the ball through the net, the second dunk coming on an ally-oop.
The Panthers made a comeback late in the period behind a three from Logan Johnston. At the end of the first, DC led 20-14.
Points were harder to come by in the second period. Chapel Hill’s Reece Anderson scored first, cutting the deficit to four points. DC answered with two points each from Tillery and Johnson, but Chapel Hill came back with four points of their own. DC then went on a seven point run, which was started off by a 3-pointer from Tillery, his third of the game. Tillery ended the run with two free throws, the first giving the Tigers a double digit lead. After a little back and forth play, both teams went into the break with DC up, 34-24.
Douglas County opened the third period with seven unanswered points, five of which came from Robinson. Chapel Hill answered with seven straight, making with three layups, including a 3-point play from Balfour. The score stood 41-31 with 4:30 left in the period. As the third period went on, the game became more physical, which also included a verbal altercation, resulting in a double technical. A three point play by Chapel Hill’s Dallas Jacks made it an eight point game. Jacks followed with a 3-pointer as the period drew to a close. The Panthers trailed DC, 45-40.
Chapel Hill continued their streak to start the fourth period when Chris Stark nailed a shot from long distance to cut the deficit to two points. The Tigers answered with four points, but Jacks hit another three to make it a 49-46 game. DC was relentless though, adding five more points on a 3-point play from Clifton and a pair of free throws from Tillery to increase their lead to eight.
With 2:30 to play, Chapel Hill cut the deficit to five on a Cameron Gill layup. The DC lead was back up to eight quickly off shots from the line. As the clock ticked down, the Tiger defense stepped up with Johnson and Robinson blocking a pair of Chapel Hill shots. Robinson capped the game off with a breakaway dunk.
“I thought we played a good game and did a good job in certain areas like rebounding,” said DC coach Hollis Bethea. “”K’Ja had a good game with 13 points, 14 assists and several steals. He is being the Division-I point guard we thought he could be.”
Clifton led the scoring for DC with 19 points. He was followed by Tillery with 17. . Balfour led Chapel Hill with 16 points.
“It was a hard fought game and we played with a lot of heart, but we have to get better in the execution phases,” said CHHS coach Lee Wilson. “We had some silly turnovers we have to cut out and we have to to make free throws. We were 7-of-19 tonight and that could have easily been the difference in the game. We cannot have that if we expect to beat good teams.”