Blacksburg Beats Chesnee
While all the holiday tournaments are great for finding out just who your team is as you go into region play, the real tests began Friday night. Region play got started in classes 2A, 3A, and 4A (5A will start Tuesday). For the Chesnee Eagles, the region schedule opened with an opponent that they are already familiar with, having faced them in the annual Chesnee Roundball Classic back before Christmas.
The last time these 2 faced each other, the Eagles were able to claw their way to a 75-69 win behind a big late 4th quarter effort from Daniel Ease and Kaylob Blanton, who combined for 15 points in the final frame. The Eagles also hit their free throws down the stretch to help pull away.
Tonight was nearly the polar opposite. Blacksburg jumped out to a nice lead early thanks to a slow start from the Eagles, although Chesnee was able to rally back to go to the 2nd stanza trailing 15-12.
The 2nd quarter was a battle between Chesnee Junior Guard Noah Mvula and Blacksburg’s Senior Power Forward Sam McSwain. Mvula went 8-9 at the free throw line in the 2nd quarter to help keep the Eagles in the game. McSwain was 5-5 with 3 layups for 11 points, helping his Wildcats take a 41-33 lead to the half.
Late in the 3rd quarter, the game took a turn for the worse for Chesnee as the things they have most consistently struggled with this season – turnovers, fouls, and free throw shooting– reared their head again. The Eagles had pulled it to a 49-47 game when back to back turnovers with fast break layups on the other end by Blacksburg helped propel the Wildcats to a 6-0 run to push their lead back to 8. From that point on, the Eagles struggled to get any clutch shots to fall down the stretch and could not hit their free throws, never able to pull back to any closer than 7 points.
Blacksburg was led by Sam Mcswain with 19 points. Junior Small Forward Jacob Gilfillan tallied 15 while Junior Shooting Guard Zack Toney logged 9.
Noah Mvula led the way for Chesnee with 21 points. Junior Guard Dawson Pruitt was the only other Eagle in double figures with 14.
Despite the issues coming to light again, Chesnee is still a good team that has the potential to be dangerous. When this team is hot, they are hard to stop, but they could be even more terrifying to face if they correct the little things. The thing is, at this point in the season, it is hard to fix the consistent problems. As they say, “At this point, you are who you are.” Is that gonna be true of Andy Pitt’s Eagles or will they find a way to turn it all around in time for the “meat” of the region schedule?
The Eagles get back to action on Tuesday night at 7:30 as they go down highway 11 to face the Landrum Cardinals in a crucial region rivalry matchup. They follow that up with a home game on Friday night at 7:30 with Greer Middle College.
Blacksburg will host Greenville Tech Charter on Tuesday night and go to Landrum on Friday. Both games are set to tip off at 7:30 PM.