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Basketball completes the upset against the Monacan Chiefs

Varsity Boys Basketball Review
Photo by: midloball
Trojan fans flood the court after a last second basket by Senior Guard Luke McMahon.

From a 35-26 Trojan lead in the first half, to a back and forth affair in the second half, the Midlothian Trojans powered past a fourth quarter surge at home with a 62-60 victory over the Monacan Chiefs on Jan. 10.

As the Trojans hope to turn their season around, they find themselves sitting at seventh place in the dominion region after earning their first win against an above .500 team this season. Meanwhile, with the Chiefs letting this game slip away in the second half, the Chiefs drop to eighth in the dominion region behind Midlothian; while receiving their second loss against a team below .500 this season.

In the beginning stages of the game, the Trojans were attempting to find answers on how to create quality opportunities in the half-court. Following a timeout midway through the first quarter, the Trojans did a better job of finding three point shooters like Jude Cheek and Luke McMahon, while drawing a considerable amount of contact when their offensive weapons were dribble-driving to the basket. This improvement offensively led to Midlothian going on an 11-6 run before the first quarter ended; which in turn, gave the Trojans an important level of confidence going into the second quarter.

In a game of important runs, the Trojans would shift momentum to their side before entering the halftime intermission. During the second quarter, the Trojans outscored the Chiefs 24-13 after struggling in the first three minutes of the first quarter. A large part of this offensive explosion had to do with Luke McMahon coming off the bench and providing a level of floor spacing and shot creation that was necessary for the Trojans to get into a rhythm offensively.

In contrast to this, Monacan guard Amare Cooper scored seven out of their thirteen points as he got to the free throw line multiple times, while capitalizing on the shots that he took in the mid-range area. This scoring production from Cooper kept the Chiefs within arms reach as the Chiefs trailed 35-26 at the end of the second quarter.

As the game continued to progress, the path to the Trojans collecting their second win in two possession games became harder once Monacan made important alterations to their gameplan. Based on Monacan defending the Trojans closer to the three point line, this forced the Trojans to replicate Monacan’s production offensively in order to keep pace with Monacan’s rim running offense.

In the middle of the third quarter, Monacan lost valuable rim pressure and athleticism after Monacan forward Promyse Dent suffered an apparent ankle injury that led to him being in crutches for the rest of the game. Because of this injury, Monacan lost an important asset in their second half gameplan that would hinder their chances of avoiding an upset before the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, the pair of teams continued to have an offensive gameplan that was tailored to converting shots around the rim. This approach helped the Chiefs in the beginning of the quarter as they forced turnovers to get quality looks around the rim in transition. As the Trojans trailed 57-52, they found a spark late to give themselves the momentum needed to close out the game.

Accompanied by collapsed offensive possessions from Monacan, the Trojans converted on two pivotal baskets by Jude CheekAndrew Ford, and Chase Chambers with less than two minutes left in the contest. In succession to a missed basket from Monacan, this would set up the Trojans to go the length of the floor and convert on a game winning layup by Luke McMahon to give them their signature win from this season.

“I knew I was coming off the bench, and I was just ready to make the most out of the minutes that I got. It’s a huge rivalry against Monacan, so I knew that I had to be ready,” Luke McMahon said following their 62-60 win over Monacan.

Following this game, the Trojans will attempt to get the monkey off their back of  winning their first road game after seven games. As they start their five game road stand against the Powhatan Indians on Jan. 12, they’ll hope to implement an effective gameplan against a team that has averaged 68 points per game in their last six matches. On the other hand, the Chiefs will attempt to get their first win since Dec. 16, 2023 as they face off against the Richmond City School of the Arts at home on Jan. 12; team that is still searching for their first win of the season at 0-9.

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About the Contributor
Huntur Brockenbrough, Sports Editor
Class of 2024 Huntur Brockenbrough has been on staff for three years and is a sports writer this year. Outside of school, he enjoys watching sports/tv, listening to music,working out, and writing.

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