By Jaz’man Hampton
The battle was on for the Brookhaven College men’s basketball team Nov. 22. The El Centro College Chaparrals beat the Bears in a defensive showdown, losing 93-102.
The game started with an offset tipoff. Officials recalled the play, and the two teams jumped for the ball again. The Chaparrals took possession of the ball and hustled down the court.
The first two minutes were a fastpaced back-and-forth game. Both teams worked hard on defense, stealing the ball and forcing one another out of bounds.
Jeremy Ford, Bears point guard, made the first shot of the game. Ford pressed hard on the defense and forcing the Chaparrals turnover, pushing the ball up the court quickly and taking the ball for a layup into the basket.
The Chaparrals wasted no time answering back to the Bears’ points with back-to-back points of their own.
Back on offense, J’Michael Jasper, Bears forward, was a force in the paint, going up for the shot, making it and coming up with a foul shot. The Bears led 8-6.
Steven McDonald, Chaparrals point guard, came off the bench and sped up the defense and offense, pushing the ball up and down the court with his teammates’ help. The Chaparrals then took the lead 9-12.
Coming off a Bears rebound, McDonald passed the ball to guard Michael McGee as he went up to dunk the ball, being called for a foul. Shortly after, the Chaparrals came back with the same play, holding the lead with a 6-point advantage at 26-32.
The Bears defense became unsteady, picking up two offensive fouls within a three-minute window in the middle of the first half. Kevin Hurst, Bears head coach, agreed both were good calls from the officials.
The Bears turned around quickly, bringing the lead for the Chaparrals to 2 points at 30-32.
“We made some good defensive adjustments,” Hurst said.
The Chaparrals did not let up on the Bears, forcing back-to-back turnovers and picking up many of the Bears’ rebounds. Six minutes before the end of the half, both teams went on a hard-hitting run, ending the first half 42-46.
“We were giving up offensive rebounds,” Brady Chamberlain, Brookhaven guard, said.
In the second half, McGee came back into the game, hitting double 3-point shots and drawing a foul. He made both free throws, increasing the Chaparrals’ lead to 45-54.
But the Bears did not give up. Ford took the ball down the court, facing a defender he could not get around. Ford handed the ball off to guard Keilyn Nance, who made the layup, closing in on the Chaparrals lead once again at 51-54.
Quickly returning to offense, the Bears game advanced as both teams’ momentum grew. Nance drove down the lane with a layup before the Bears time out, 55-56. This was the closest the Bears had been to the Chaparrals since the first half.
Ford picked up an offensive foul from a Chaparral defender, putting the ball back into the Bears’ possession.
Bear Logon Dixon led down a 3-point shot, helping his team hold on, 72-78.
Ford stole the ball from under, deep in the Chaparrals paint. Hustling down the court, Ford intended to pass the ball to one of his players, but it landed in the hands of a Chaparral for another Bears turnover. Chaparrals lead by 10 points, 84-94.
“It’s tough to win a basketball game when you have 23 turnovers,” Hurst said.
The Bears played their fullcourt press style of defense for the remainder of the game, trying to keep from turning the ball over.
The Bears are now 6-3 overall.