By MARCUS HELTON
FORT WASHINGTON – National Christian Academy coach Trevor Brown admitted that he didn’t know much about his team’s opponent on Friday – Chapelgate Christian – but he understood that they wouldn’t be a pushover.
“I just knew that they had played everybody tough,” Brown said after NCA pulled away late to beat Chapelgate, 62-51. “They had beat Surrattsville, so I knew they were going to be a pretty good team. We just didn’t want to play down to the competition, but they’re a good team. I heard they played Montrose tough for three quarters, so we didn’t know what to expect other than that they were well-coached and they played hard.”
The Eagles (24-5) found that out Friday, as Chapelgate cut a 12-point deficit down to five with just over four minutes remaining before NCA pulled away. National Christian senior guard Javon Moore scored nine of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
“No, we’ve never played this team before,” Moore said, “but we’re not going to underestimate any team. So, we just came out kind of slow – we thought we were just going to have an easy game – but then we had to go strong.”
Brown said he heard of Chapelgate from one of his assistant coaches, whose brother’s kids attend school there. He added that he plans to schedule the Yellowjackets regularly from now on.
Chapelgate (23-6) – which clinched its second consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference championship on Wednesday – was led by senior guard Nate Frierson, who scored 16 points. In the end, though, NCA’s superior size, athleticism and depth were just too much to overcome.
“Sometimes you just think about size as around the basket,” said CCA coach Frick Frierson, “but we’ve got a 5-10, 150-pound point guard just pounding and working, and he’s going end line to end line bringing the ball up the court and they’re bodying him. It was a clean, nicely-officiated game, but it’s physical, and size matters even when you’re small out there in the backcourt. So, it’ll wear you down, and they can change players on you. They’re running five in and five out and we’re playing seven guys.”
The Eagles opened Friday’s game on a 7-0 run, and held the Yellowjackets scoreless until a 3-pointer by Chiko Obi with 2:12 remaining. NCA led 9-6 after one quarter.
Nate Frierson opened the second quarter with a jumper to make it a one-point game, but National Christian responded with an 11-0 run – capped by a 3-pointer from Moore – to take a 20-8 lead.
The Yellowjackets answered right back with a 9-0 run, though, getting a 3 from Frierson, a pair of Chisom Uzosike free throws, a nice two-handed dunk by Winfield Taylor and a Uzosike bucket to cut the deficit to 20-17 with 3:25 remaining in the half. It was as close as they would get, however, as the Eagles took a 29-21 lead at the break.
NCA expanded its lead back to 12 points in the third quarter, but Chapelgate whittled it down to six heading into the final frame.
CCA closed the gap to five points on a bucket by Taylor with 4:12 remaining, but a basket by Darreontae Moore and a 3-pointer by Javon Moore gave the Eagles all the breathing room they would need.
“Playing five [different guys] every four minutes kind of wore them down,” Brown said, “and some of the 3’s they were hitting in the first half weren’t really falling in the fourth quarter and some of the guys looked a little gassed. So, probably our depth was the biggest difference.”
The Eagles host Body of Christ today and Riverdale Baptist on Monday, and then have a layoff before heading to Myrtle Beach on March 24.
“It’s going good,” Javon Moore said of his senior season. “We wanted to go undefeated but it didn’t happen, but we’re still one of the top teams in the area. We have 24 wins right now, so we’re good.”
Frierson 16, Taylor 11, Uzosike 10, Phillips 8, Obi 4, Raoum 2.
J. Moore 17, Kobani 10, Briggs 8, D. Moore 7, Thomas 6, Davis 4, Edwards 4, Clemmons 2, Hinely 2, Trim 2.
Chapelgate Christian 6 15 12 18 – 51
National Christian 9 20 10 23 – 62
3-Point Goals—CC 6 (Frierson 3, Obi, Phillips, Taylor), NC 3 (J. Moore 3).
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