Coach Eddie Salter appears to have a pretty good basketball team at Chattanooga Christian, but he’s still looking for the right chemistry as he finds the best combination of players to put on the floor.
The season is still really young and the Chargers had only played one game coming into their annual Thanksgiving Round Robin Tournament Tuesday night, but it looks like he will have plenty of talent to choose from as the season progresses.
Facing the Polk County Wildcats in the fourth game on Tuesday, the Wildcats took the lead before the game began as Josh Laughlin converted the second of two free throws after a technical foul was given to the Chargers after running through the Wildcat team during pre-game warmups.
Laughlin knocked down a 3 some 18 seconds later for a 4-0 Polk lead, but the Chargers then scored 16 of the next 19 points and never looked back as they handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season by a convincing 89-64 final.
The Chattanooga Christian girls were also victorious as they beat Polk County 49-30. The LFO Lady Warriors won the first game with a 57-25 decision over Lookout Valley while the Lookout Valley boys led from the start and beat LFO, 65-50.
Four more games are scheduled for Friday with Polk County facing LFO in the first two games and CCS-Lookout Valley meeting in the final two. The first game is set to begin at 1 with others to follow every 90 minutes.
CCS BOYS 89, POLK CO. 64: Laughlin was by far the biggest player on the court and he dominated from start to finish, but he didn’t have much support.
He scored 33 points for the game, including 17 in the third quarter alone, and also grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Wildcats. He now has 1,003 points for his career.
Luke Burrows was the only other teammate in double figures as he finished with 10 points while the Chargers had three players in double figures, including John Rhodes with 20 points. Michael Houge was next with 17 while Grant Van Meter finished with 15.
Coach Salter appeared to be really pleased with the way his team performed, but he’s always looking for ways for them to be better.
“We knew they would be shooting a lot of 3s, so we started out in a man-to-man defense. I thought we shot the ball well too, but defense was the key for us tonight,” he said shortly after the final horn sounded.
“We have a lot of depth, but most of those second and third team guys are young, but we can work with that. Right now, we’re still looking for the right combination as we work on team chemistry, but we wanted some of the younger guys to get some experience tonight and they did.
“Their big man dominated us as my little guys were just bouncing off him as we had a hard time matching up, but we just have to keep working as we try to find our best combination,” he added.
Polk County coach Jon Tucker said his team came out flat and that by the time they got ready to compete, the outcome had already been determined.
“We were flat at the start and dug ourselves too big of a hole,” he began.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond like we should have. We live and die by the outside shot and tonight it was our downfall as we didn’t shoot very well. I thought we were more competitive in the second half and that’s really what I was looking for, but we just didn’t adjust quick enough,” Tucker added.
That early 16-7 lead stretched to 26-13 when the first quarter ended and the difference was 18 points (45-27) at the break.
Van Meter canned a 3 at the start of the third quarter for a 48-27 CCS lead before Laughlin scored the next nine points to get the Wildcats within a dozen at 48-36 with 5:22 left in the third.
It never got any closer as the Chargers kept pounding away.
While Laughlin was the leading scorer and rebounder for Polk, Houge had 12 rebounds to lead CCS as the Chargers had an unofficial 51-32 edge on the boards. Rhodes grabbed 10 while Mondo Ellison matched his eight points with eight rebounds.
LFO GIRLS 57, LOOKOUT VALLEY 25: This game was relatively close at the half with the Lady Warriors holding a 21-15 lead.
The Lady Jackets didn’t score a point in the third stanza as the lead was 41-15 with eight minutes to play.
Macey Gregg scored 16 points to lead a trio of LFO players in double figures while Milijah Williams followed with 14 and Gracen Hobbs 13.
Rainey Barber, Alex Spence and Jalisa Sanders all had seven points to lead Lookout Valley.
LOOKOUT VALLEY BOYS 65, LFO 50: Lookout Valley bolted to a quick 19-7 lead after the first quarter before stretching the difference to 41-20 at intermission.
The Warriors had a 16-10 edge in the third, but that first-half lead was simply too much to overcome.
Darrian Robinson had 17 points to lead the winners while teammates Larry McCullough and Denzel Daniel were also in double digits with 16 and 12 points, respectively.
Ruddy Ware was tops for LFO with 18 points while Patryk Gilbert finished with 10.
CCS GIRLS 49, POLK CO. 30: The Lady Cats scored the first bucket of the game, but the Lady Chargers then scored 14 straight to end the first quarter with a 12-point lead.
Polk cut it to 23-14 at the break, but CCS had a 26-16 scoring edge in the second half to win going away.
Addie Henry was the only CCS player in double figures as she finished with 17 points, but Dixie Walker and Savannah Ricketts followed with eight and seven points respectively, as nine of the 13 Lady Chargers who played scored at least two points.
Skylar Hatcher was tops for Polk with nine points.
LOOKOUT VALLEY 6 9 0 10 -- 25
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE 10 11 20 16 -- 57
LOOKOUT VALLEY (25) – P. Millraney, Barber 7, Crownover, Reed 2, Morton, Spence 7, Sanders 7, M. Millraney 2, Smith.
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE (57) – Williams 14, Gregg 16, Kelley 2, Stewart, Foster 5, Jackson 2, Jackson, Elleman 1, Hobbs 13, Nelson 4, Begley, Howe, Reed, Roundtree, McBurnett.
3-POINT GOALS: Lookout Valley 3 (Spence 2, Sanders); LFO 6 (Williams 3, Gregg, Hobbs 2).
POLK COUNTY 2 12 9 7 -- 30
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 14 9 16 10 -- 49
POLK CO. (30) – Brown, Howard 2, Beauman, Hatcher 9, Fritts 5, Casteel, Boyd 2, Hardin 2, Baker, Morales, Ball 4, Parsley, Mitchell 6, Hale.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN (49) – Vandergriff 2, Pruett 5, Blevins, Henry 17, Davick, Sandhoff 2, Huesman 2, Ricketts 7, Walker 8, Hendry, Dirkse 4, Fikkert, Jipping 2.
3-POINT GOALS: Polk Co. 2 (Hatcher 2); CCS 1 (Pruett).
LOOKOUT VALLEY 19 22 10 14 -- 65
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE 7 13 16 14 -- 50
LOOKOUT VALLEY (65) – Robinson 17, Moore 7, Dixon 4, McCullough 16, Ray 5, Barber 4, Patel, Daniel 12.T
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE (50) – Ware 18, Trammell 2, Brock 6, Gilbert 10, McMath, Rowe 4, Wofford 4, Hammonds 2, Herrod 2, King, McCracken 2, Voiles, Wooten.
3-POINT GOALS: Lookout Valley 2 (Robinson 2); LFO 5 (Ware 2, Brock 2, Gilbert).
POLK COUNTY 13 14 24 13 -- 64
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 26 19 25 19 -- 89
POLK CO. (64) – Burrows 10, Patterson 6, Clark 2, Huggins 7, Laughlin 33, Groomes 2, Cross, Dean 2, Lairamore 2, Pell.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN (89) – Covington, TV Scott 6, Davenport 3, Rowell 2, Hilger, Rhodes 20, Houge 17, Stimart 6, Ellison 8, T. Scott 2, Van Meter 15, Spencer 8, Schuster2.
3-POINT GOALS: Polk Co. 5 (Burrows 2, Laughlin 3); CCS 8 (Davenport, Rhodes 2, Van Meter 3, Spencer 2).
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)