Thursday night, the day before highly-anticipated senior night matchup against rival Northeast, senior forward Brett Garver called head coach Marlon Bailey.
“[He] called me last night and said, ‘Coach, if we don’t win this game, I can’t go to the dance tomorrow,” Bailey said. “And I like to see my man Brett [Garver] at the dances. And he came out tonight and did everything he needed to do.”
Looks like Garver will get to go to the winter dance Saturday, after Chesapeake’s 88-79 victory Friday night.
Despite a sluggish first half, in which the Eagles were up by as many as 13 points, the Cougars rallied. Thanks in large part to their seniors, they captured the coveted Dena Bowl Friday night at Chesapeake.
The last time Chesapeake and Northeast met Jan. 6, 78-33.
But this time, the Eagles were seeking revenge.
“We tried to slow the game down early and that’s when we were doing well,” Northeast coach Roger O’Dea said. “I am very proud of these kids, they did a real good job and that was probably our best game of the season.”
At the start of the second quarter with Northeast leading 20-15, the Cougars started with the ball and committed an offensive foul. Northeast capitalized on the ensuing possession for a seven-point advantage.
The Cougars traveled on their next possession, handing the ball right back to Northeast. The Eagles scored in the paint for a 24-15 lead.
Chesapeake committed five more turnovers in the second quarter and trailed 34-26 at the half.
“Northeast came out on fire and jumped out to the lead,” Bailey said. “Then in the second half we had to regroup and push, push, push. We stuck with it.”
Added Garver: “Northeast showed they really wanted this one in the first half. … But we did, too. It was a good fight.”
With two minutes to go in the third and the Cougars trailing 49-43, Patrick Anderson went to the line and sank both of his foul shots. The Eagles committed a turnover on the next possession, and senior guard Adam Ritchie made a breakaway layup while crashing to the floor, bringing Chesapeake within two.
An Aaron Terry tip-in after another Eagle turnover tied the game at 49.
A minute into the fourth quarter, with the game tied at 57, Ritchie penetrated the paint and sank a layup. Northeast guard Ben Fiseha followed with his own layup, tying the game again at 49. But the Cougars began to pull away later after a Ritchie 3 followed by a Garver jumper gave them a 65-61 lead en route to the nine-point victory
“I love Brett Garver,” Bailey said. “I love him to death. He came out from the beginning. And Adam [Ritchie], our shooter, he struggled in the first half but then he came through when we needed him the most and he did a great job.”
Said Ritchie, “This was just fun. It’s the biggest rivalry at Chesapeake and we really wanted to win. It feels great.”