by Jimmie Haywood
In front of a hostile crowd, the McIntosh Chiefs boys basketball team extended its winning streak to eight straight after zooming past of the Sandy Creek Patriots by a final score of 69-51 on Saturday night in a battle of top ten teams.
Led by a sensational all-around performance by point guard Will Washington, who finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with 12 assists, the Chiefs amassed a double-digit lead by halftime before they ultimately cruised to victory.
“We’ve been talking about this game all week, and we came out with a lot of focus,” said Washington who sank a trio of three-pointers in the contest as his team moved to 9-1 overall for the season. “This win will boost our confidence a bit, but we still have work to put in because we’re trying to reach a bigger goal.”
Washington wasn’t the only Chief to show up in the contest as fellow seniors Dishon Lowery and Jordan Lyons each finished with double-figure points. Lowery led the McIntosh bigs with 16 points on a combination of monster dunks, cutbacks, and overall dominance in the paint, and added 16 rebounds with 4 blocks. Lyons also nailed three three-pointers for the Chiefs on his way to a relatively quiet 13-point night. Chase Walter added 8 points and 8 rebounds.
“We had fun out there tonight,” said Lowery, whose two-handed jams sucked the life out of the Sandy Creek fans. “As we get more energy we play better, and I think that’s what happened tonight.”
On the other side of the coin, the Patriots, who had their two-game winning streak snapped, were led in scoring by forward Elias Harden, who finished with 25 points, and point guard Christian Turner with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
After Sandy Creek put together a late run in the first quarter to pull within five at 20-15 going into the second, they seemed poised to hang around with the Chiefs for the entire game. Washington had other plans, however, as he exploded with 12 points in the second quarter as his team began to pull further away. By halftime Washington had 14 points and his team enjoyed a 12-point lead at 38-26.
In the third quarter Washington continued his dominance of the game with 9 more points as his team went up by as many as 20.
After such a promising start Sandy Creek went cold for stretches shooting the ball, especially from beyond the arc.
“I was really proud of our defensive effort,” said Chiefs coach Jason Eisele. “That’s that best defense we played all season.”
He hopes it is just the start of another special run.
“Tonight they played the way that I have been wanting them to play for a long time, so hopefully they’ll take it to heart and we can build from there,” Eisele added.
Now at 7-3 overall Sandy Creek will look to bounce back when they travel to face Northwood Academy (Charleston, SC) while the Chiefs compete in the Lake City Classic.
The McIntosh Lady Chiefs kicked off Saturday with a commanding 54-28 win over Sandy Creek.
McIntosh is red-hot of late, winning six in a row after dropping the first two games of the season. A win over Sandy Creek is no small achievement with the Patriots turning into a contender. At 4-5, the Patriots have already almost matched their win total from all of last season.
The Chiefs started the game with a dominating performance, building up a 21-7 lead after the first quarter. Sandy Creek tried to dig out of their hole, outscoring the Chiefs 12-10 in the second quarter, but a 31-19 halftime deficit would be too much to overcome against a suffocating defense.
Samantha Coffey powered the Chiefs, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting on three-pointers. Savannah Soles posted 16 points, and Rylee Calhoun added 8 points. DeLayne Rotolo filled up the stat sheet again with 5 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds.