Chapin hung in with A.C. Flora for the first quarter, but the next three had the Falcons making quick work of the visiting Eagles on Friday night, taking the battle of the birds, 79-41.
“We just wanted to make sure we came out with a positive energy tonight,” A.C. Flora coach Joshua Staley said. “We have a lot of respect for Chapin as a team.”
The defending region champs used their speed and athleticism to jump out to a 10-0 lead after the first two minutes, highlighted by a breakaway dunk by James Murray Bowles, forcing a timeout by Chapin.
It looked as if the rout would be on early, but Chapin (5-7, 0-2) came storming back with a 10-0 run of their own to tie the game, however, Staley declined to take a timeout to stop the bleeding.
“Sometimes you have to let your team work through it, and I knew why they went on the run so there was no need to panic,” he said. “It’s still early enough in the season that you have to let your team work their way through situations like that.”
Flora (13-3, 2-0) would have held a larger lead at the end of the first quarter, but the team went 1-for-9 from the free-throw line, which was a theme for the squad throughout the night. The quarter finished 15-10.
The rest of the game swung largely in favor of the Falcons, who used quick pacing while spreading the ball around equally among scorers.
The second quarter was dominated by forward Karm Gamble of A.C. Flora, who wreaked havoc on both ends of the court. Gamble had three times where he was fouled and made his basket, but missed the free shot.
Nevertheless, his team led 42-20 heading into the break and they never looked back.
The Falcons eventually put in their deep bench players with four minutes left in the game, with their lead at 73-34.
“They just turned up the pressure,” Chapin coach John Goodale said. “We came out ready to battle, but we just lost focus a couple times. Our guys know they can play better.”
Goodale said that building his team is process right now, and that Flora is a good motivator to get to the next level.
Following the win, A.C. Flora will host Richland Northeast on Tuesday, while Chapin will host Lower Richland.
AC: Gamble 15, Davis 15, Hampton 14, Bowles 11, Gray 8, Hollingsworth 4, Boyce 4, Reese 3, Davis 3, Stevenson 2, Spigner 2. CH: Edwards 17, Rhame 4, Cooper 2, Layne 2, Wrenn 2, McCathern