TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Leon Lions narrowly escape their longtime rival, the Chiles Timberwolves, with a 63-58 win in the 7A-2 District Semi-Final game.
The score was close throughout the game, and the Lions held a 52-49 lead with 4:30 left to go in the game with the Timberwolves nipping on their heels. Leon’s junior point guard Trejan Davis charged to the basket for another layup to deflate the Timberwolves and regain momentum for the Lions to carry them to a sweet semi-final playoff victory.
“I tip my hat off to Chiles,” Leon coach Rick Davis said. “They (Chiles) never gave up and fought the whole four quarters all the way until the end. We have got to do a better job at controlling the tempo and with ball possession. We gave up too many easy layups tonight because of the fact that we turn the ball over on our end of the court.”
The Timberwolves took a 14-13 lead after a close back-and-forth opening quarter. It wasn’t until the start of the second quarter that the Lions (18-8, 2-3) went on a seven-point run to claim the lead and held it for the remainder of the game.
The Timberwolves (13-14, 2-4) saw little success in the second quarter as their defense allowed the Lions 21 points and their offense accumulated only 13, with six of those points resulting from the free throw line to end the half trailing 34-27.
The energy and intensity in the atmosphere was high as the players on each team gave it their all to fight for a game that could be their last of the season. This perhaps attributing to messy ball handling which resulted in countless turnovers for both teams.
“In the game of basketball,” Davis said. “When you turn the ball over like that and make silly fouls, you put your team at risk. Every possession counts. We were in the lead but then we would start to have mental breakdowns. Each time we would have a mental breakdown, they (Chiles) would go on a three or four point run and get the momentum. Every time we would breakdown, they would come and fight back.”
The third quarter began with three turnovers between the two teams until Leon senior forward Teron Hedrington put a stop to this by charging to the paint and coming away with a solid layup. Chiles junior forward Kamari Brown immediately responded with a dunk heard around the gym with 6:50 left in the third.
Brown had a huge night for the Timberwolves as he accounted for 18 points. Sharing with Brown in the Timberwolf spotlight was senior guard Brett Easterling as he racked up a total of 27 points on the night.
“I thought we played really well,” Chiles coach John Langlois said. “There were a few shots here and there and a couple turnovers but we played them really hard and they are a very good team. I am just proud of my players.”
The Lions divided their spotlight amongst three star players, each in a different class. Junior guard Trejan Davis and sophomore center Jakari Gallon each accounted for 14 points on the night while senior guard Stanely Davis boasted 11 total points.
Leon advances to the 7A-2 District Final to face powerhouse Lincoln who brings in a 17-5 record.
“Mentally, we have just got to come together as a unit and go in and continue to play 32 minutes of basketball,” Davis said. “If we play 32 minutes of basketball and not give up turnovers, rebound the basketball and not get in foul trouble in the first half, I think we have a good chance of winning the game. Our strategy is to control the tempo of the game and make them play our style of basketball.”