Chesapeake boys clinch share of fifth-straight title
CHESAPEAKE -- It was by no means pretty, but Chesapeake's 39-31 boy's basketball win over Fairland Saturday night gave the Panthers a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title, marking the fifth straight year 'Peake has finished as conference champions.
It also marks the Panthers' fourth consecutive undefeated season at home.
"It's a huge accomplishment for (the seniors)," head coach Ryan Davis said.
The game was won in a style that Chesapeake has had to adopt out of necessity this season -- slowing the tempo, working hard on the boards and on defense while wringing every offensive possession for all it's worth.
"We're used to being a more explosive team," head coach Ryan Davis said after the game. "It's a credit to the kids that they've bought into being a different style of team this year. It's just a great group of kids."
Fairland, the other OVC co-champion, scored four unanswered points in the final 10 seconds of the second quarter to take a lead into the half, 16-15, but Davis wasn't bothered by it.
"Yes they were ahead, but they only had 16 points," Davis said. "I felt good about that going into the half. I thought we played really good defense."
Fairland had a 25-20 lead to start the fourth quarter, but Chesapeake outscored the Dragons 9-2 in the first two minutes, capped off by a Javon Thompson 3-pointer that gave the Panthers the lead back at 29-27. Thompson had a game-high 20 points on the night.
After a timeout, Fairland tied the game on a slashing basket by Luke Phillips, but Chesapeake slowly started to pull away by getting open looks under the basket and knocking down free throws.
The Panthers also held Fairland's main offensive weapon, Evan Maddox, without a basket from the floor in the entire fourth quarter. Maddox, who finished with 14 points, did get two points from the free throw line early in the fourth.
Overall, the Panthers outscored Fairland 19-6 in the game's final frame.
"I think the whole thing tonight was that (Chesapeake) controlled the tempo," Fairland coach Nathan Speed said. "We didn't get up and down like we like to do, and I felt like they were in control of the game even when we had the lead."
Fairland won the first contest between the two rivals, 63-60, at home on Jan. 4.
Speed said the difference in the re-match, at least in the fourth quarter, was that the Dragons weren't reversing the ball well enough or attacking the basket against Chesapeake's zone.
"I think we kind of panicked a bit," he said.
Saturday's contest was a makeup of a game canceled due to inclement weather.
It probably didn't help the Dragons that they entered Saturday's game after playing a grueling contest at Ironton the night before, which Fairland lost by 20.
But Speed wasn't making any excuses.
"It's about the tournament now," he said. "Win or lose tonight, it's all about the tournament. The season's over, and it's time to start our second season."
FAIRLAND 8 8 9 6 -- 31: Maddox 14, Midkiff 7, Raines 4, Phillips 4, Campbell 2.
CHESAPEAKE 9 6 5 19 -- 39: Thompson 20, Hefner 6, Meadows 5, Saunders 4, Duffield 4.