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Division II Semifinal #2
March 13, 2008 - Seth Staskey
Time to tip off...Teams have been introduced and we're under way.....
Early going...knotted at 6. Ben Umbel and Chillicothe point guard Anthony Hitchens showing why they were the pre-game talk early in the contest. However, the advantage Chillicothe has in the early going is on the low block with Ray Chambers who's got four as the Cavaliers have assumed a 8-6 lead with four minutes to go in the first.
Poland is operating under hockey terms using line changes. It's been subbing four guys at a time. Chillicothe has subbed just once and Hitchens has missed his first two shots from deep. Poland is leading 9-8 with less than two minutes to go in the first period.
In an entertaining opening period, Chillicothe takes a 12-11 lead. Hitchens is living up to the billing that he couldn't be guarded in a phone booth. Absolutely quick as lightning.
In the second period thus far, the Cavaliers have gone back inside to Chambers who's gotten a pair of emphatic baseline dunks and has 12 points already. The game is resuming after a 30-second timeout with Chillicothe holding a 22-16 lead.
Chillicothe's run continued throughout the second period as the Cavaliers have established a 34-22 lead over the unblemished Bulldogs. As was the case in the first period, Poland's got no answer for Chambers who's got 18 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. Hitchens is also a factor and Poland's top guns Ben Umbel and Niko Fatimus have been held primarily in check.
The second half is under way and the Cavaliers are trying to prevent the Bulldogs from getting on a run. The score is now 39-27.
We've hit the media timeout in the third quarter and Chillicothe is just too athletic. It's getting its hands on every pass, challenging every shot and every loose ball is seemingly finding its way into Cavalier hands. Throw in the fact that the game is being played to a style that includes a wreckless abandon. The score is 44-31 in favor of the Cavaliers.
Here come the Bulldogs. A run of seven unanswered got Poland within six at 44-38, but after a Cavalier timeout, Hitchens hit back-to-back pull-up jumpers to push the lead back to 10. This Hitchens character is silky smooth.
Through three quarters, Chillicothe maintains a 51-40 lead. Hitchens drilled a triple from left corner as the horn sounded and left the court with his right fist pumping. Question for Poland is about energy, they play the up-and-down style all of the time, but does it have one more run in it. It finally got going offensively in the third, but Chillicothe answered each time.
Shaping up to be a dandy in the fourth!!!
Well it's not that much of a dandy. With a shade over four minutes to go, the Poland Bulldogs appear headed for the second team of the day to come in unblemished and leave the tournament early. Chillicothe has stretched the lead to 17 at 64-47 as the media timeout comes in the final chapter.
Neutral fans are headed back to their respective tailgate parties to continue the fun of the hoop tournament. Hitchens has 24 points and Chambers has 25. This game came down to athleticism and Chillicothe had more of that and its two best players were a lot better than Poland's best players and that's no disrespect to the kids from Poland. The Cavalier duo is just that good.
Poland fell behind by as many as 20 in the fourth, but have since scored on its last four trips and now trail 75-65, but time is the problem as only 41.6 seconds show on the clock and the Bulldogs own nary a timeout.
It's now a final, 78-70 Chillicothe. It'll be Hitchen and Chambers against Buford and Libbey Saturday morning for the Division II state title.
See-ya in a bit with the D-IV Tournament begins.
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