Griffins battle in Chester, Lady G’s get W

Montraivis White attempts to cut past the Chester defender. | Travis Jenkins

CHESTER – In more ways than one, the Chester High boys’ basketball team recorded a good win Tuesday night.

For starters, Coach Sebastian Hopkins said his team offered a much better performance than it did the last time out in a close win over Camden, when he said his team looked “flat.” Tuesday’s 69-55 victory also came against a Fairfield Central team that has improved dramatically over last season.

“They are a lot better than last year. They’re a very improved team,” Hopkins said.

The game was very competitive early on. The Griffins actually took a timeout just thirty seconds into the game trailing 2-0 after turning the ball over on twice in the face of Chester’s press. That seemed to do the trick as Fairfield Central protected the ball better and operated efficiently at the offensive end. Melvin Peay had a big frame, scoring twice in the paint and another on a short jumper. Jordan Boyd completed an old-fashioned three-point play and had five points. The Griffins also benefited from a cold Chester shooting start. The Cyclones went 0-for-4 from the line and missed three point-blank layups as Fairfield Central took a 16-12 lead into the second.

The Cyclones came alive from the floor in the second. Point guard Dorrien Bagley knocked down a three-pointer early in the stanza (the team’s first of the game) and that seemed to open things up underneath, where Chester had a big size advantage.

“I just kept feeding Leon (Goldsborough) and Jaylin (McClurkin) down there,” Bagley said.

Goldsborough had four field goals in the second, all in the paint and two on second chance opportunities. McClurkin added four points of his own. The Cyclones likely could have taken control of the game, but the Griffins stayed in at largely on the strength of a pair of three-pointers (one each from Will Barber and Peay) and at the line. Chester was only 4-of-13 in the first half on free throws, but Fairfield Central did a good job of drawing contact and then converting, hitting 13-of-17. That made it a 34-33 Cyclones lead at the break.

In the third, Chester started to take control and did so largely on the strength of its defense. The Cyclones got back to the press, stayed out of foul trouble and held the Griffins to just six points. The home team didn’t shoot particularly well in the frame themselves, but did manage to pound it inside for eight more points from Goldsborough and McClurkin. They led 48-39 going to the fourth, then ran that lead to as many as 18 points on the way to the final 14-point margin of victory.

“We made some adjustments to our press in the second half. The guys were moving their feet and talking a lot more,” Hopkins said.

Goldsborough led all scorers with 22 points. McClurkin, Bagley and Keith Mobley all had 12 points each. Peay and Trei White tied for the team scoring lead for Fairfield Central with 14 points each.

Chester moved to 3-1 in the region with the win and now faces a 10-day layoff. The Griffins fell to 0-2 in the region and will play Keenan and Indian Land this week.

The Fairfield Central girls’ team took a big lead early and never looked back in a 61-39 victory. Much as the Chester boys did, the Lady Griffins took advantage of their superior size to dominate in terms of rebounding and inside scoring. Lakeyn Boyd scored six points in the first quarter and 13 by the half. Fairfield Central led 38-13 at the break and 52-18 through three. The team emptied its bench in the fourth quarter. Chester was able to slice into the lead a bit but never got close.

Boyd led the Lady Griffins with 17 points. Fairfield Central now stands a perfect 2-0 in region play.

Both Griffins teams will host region opponent Indian Land Friday for their first matchup of the regular season.