It's always hard to get a handle on any high school basketball team from the results of their first game, but Chattanooga Christian coach Jim Arnold liked what he saw from the homestanding Chargers as they totally dominated a younger and less experienced Whitwell team.
The final score was 66-33.
The Lady Chargers were equally as impressive as they raced to a big lead early and never looked back while posting a 57-34 win.
Big Josh Fikkert got the Chargers off and running with an alley-oop slam to start the game as the hosts scored the first seven points.
Fikkert had a pair of free throws late in the quarter as Chattanooga Christian had a 14-5 lead at the first break.
The Chargers played helter-skelter defense with players all over the place and arms flying everywhere. The youthful Tigers didn't respond very well as they went more than eight minutes without scoring.
Josh Patton sank a 3 at the 3:20 mark of the first quarter as Whitwell got to within 10-5, but by the time Hunter Patton scored on a layup with 3:16 to play in the second, the difference was 24-7.
The Chargers had a comfortable 30-8 lead at intermission.
CCS came out firing to start the second half with Fikkert getting things started with a short hook before freshman Ryan Rhodes intercepted the inbounds pass and hit a 3 from the wing. Nic Matthews scored on a drive from the wing and then sank the free throw as the Charger lead had swelled to 38-8 with less than a minute elapsed in the second half.
Whitwell never quit playing and really had its best stretch in the third quarter. They got outscored 21-17 during that stretch, but take away that first minute and the Tigers held their own with a 17-13 advantage in the last seven minutes.
Chattanooga Christian then had another fast start to begin the final stanza as the Chargers scored the first nine points as the mercy rule went into effect with 4:36 to play following a 3 by Rhodes.
The biggest lead of the game for CCS came with 2:13 to play following a baseline drive by Andrew Card that made the difference 36 at 66-30.
Chase White's 3 some 20 seconds later concluded the scoring as subs got to play the last couple fo minutes.
"Overall, I'm pleased as the effort was there," said Arnold after a brief post-game chat with his team.
"The biggest thing I wanted to see was a lot of high energy. We played hard and everyone got to see some action. We have a good group of seniors, but we also have some younger guys who contributed some valuable mnutes. I was glad to see they didn't fold when things didn't go well.
"We turned it over way too much and we made a lot of first-game mistakes, but if you play hard, that makes up for a lot of mistakes. This a pace that's much faster than we're used to playing, but we'll continue to get better," Arnold nodded.
Whitwell coach Keith Thacker certainly didn't like the results, but he liked the spunk and competitiveness that his team displayed.
"We're young as Hunter Patton is our only returning starter. He and Chase White are the only two with much experience, but this was our first game together. The good news is that we didn't quit or lay down. We have a lot of work to do, but we're improving.
"Chattanooga Christian has an outstanding team and they clearly outplayed us, but I have no complaints when my guys play as hard as they did tonight. There are times when we'll come out on the short end of the stick, but that's life," the Whitwell coach nodded.
Fikkert, whose arms may be longer than his legs, finished with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Chargers.
Rhodes followed with 14 points, which included four 3s, while Aaron Jones was also in double figures with 10. Nine of the 12 CCS players dressed scored at least two points.
White scored eight points to lead the way for Whitwell while Blake Nelson followed with seven, despite getting his nose busted when he took a charge in the fourth quarter.
Hunter Patton was next with five.
The Chargers also had a commanding 40-21 rebounding edge. Fikkert had 10, including seven in the first half, while Coleman Dirkse had five. Austin Monsell, Card and Rhodes all finished with four apiece.
Whitwell will be back in action at home on Tuesday when Community pays a visit while CCS will play at Red Bank Tuesday night.
CCS GIRLS 57, WHITWELL 34: The Lady Tigers had a 3-2 lead early before the Lady Chargers went on a 15-0 run and the outcome was never in doubt after that.
The biggest lead of the game came at the end when Joanna Smith tallied two of her game-high 17 points.
Hannah Henry was also in double figures for CCS with 11 points while Rachel Delashmitt was next with eight.
Tanika Gholston was tops for Whitwell with 13 points while Alyssa Coppinger was next with 11.
Whitwell 5 12 11 6 -- 34
Chattanooga Christian 19 9 14 15 -- 57
WHITWELL (34) -- Muir, Young, Gholston 13, Smith 3, Andregg 7, Rogers, Coppinger 11, Rains, Pickett, Hedrick, Worley.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN (57) -- Hughes 4, Delashmitt 8, Henry 11, Loyal 2, R. Farlett 4, S. Farlett, Balch, Smith 17, Kelly 2, Dirkse 5, Van Horn, Royer 4.
3-POINT GOALS: Whitwell 2 (Gholston, Smith), CCS 4 (Delashmitt 2, Smith, Dirkse).
Whitwell 5 3 17 8 -- 33
Chattanooga Christian 14 16 21 15 -- 66
WHITWELL (33) -- Nelson 7, H. Patton 6, White 8, J. Patton 3, Parris, Meade 2, Sullivan, Morrison, Burdette 5, Lockhart, Chambers, Dawson, B. Gholston, T. Gholston 2.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN (66) -- Matthews 3, Rhodes 14, Jones 10, Card 6, Fikkert 20, Alston 3, Fortmiller 4, Mansell, Dirkse 2, Baker, Aldridge 4, Farlett.
3-POINT GOALS: Whitwell 5 (Nelson, White 2, J. Patton, Burdette); Chattanooga Christian 5 (Rhodes 4, Jones).
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)
CCS's Rachael Delashmitt dribbles the ball past a Whitwell's Tanika Gholston during Monday night's 57-34 victory over the Lady Tigers. Delashmitt had eight points for the victorious Lady Chargers.
- Photo2 by Greg Davick