The Yellow Jackets beat the Eagles on the road Friday night after coming out of the halftime break and building a 20-point lead.
The Irmo Yellow Jackets defeated Chapin on the road Friday night, 62-50, after coming out of the halftime break and building a 20-point lead.
“We haven't had all the pieces yet, and we finally do now, so it’s an opportunity to start getting better every day,” Irmo head coach Tim Whipple said. “This was big for us making a step in the right direction.”
One of those returning pieces, A.J. Brand, took charge in his second game for Irmo after missing the team's first four contests while leading the football team to the state semifinal.
Brand finished with 16 points, including 10 in the pivotal third quarter, and added six rebounds and five assists.
“He is the only person that's on the floor right now that got serious minutes last year,” head coach Tim Whipple said. “He started last year, there isn't anybody else that we have that did. So his leadership is important. He's coming off the football field, which his leadership was extremely important there as well. So it's going to take him a little bit of time to get going, and tonight was definitely a positive for him and us.”
Donovan Murph scored 13 points and five rebounds, Antwoine Pierce had nine points and Jeremy Andrson had 8 points and 10 rebounds.
No Chapin players hit double figures, but two players scored nine. Tyson Ray Jr. hit four field goals and made one of his two free throw attempts. Cayman Collins hit three three-pointers to score his points.
Collins was honored before the game and rewarded with a commemorative game ball for joining Chapin’s career 1,000-point club.
The game started as a closely contested matchup with both teams trading runs in the first quarter.
Ray Jr. scored the game's first bucket on a dunk that got the Eagles’ fans out of their seats. Irmo responded with an 8-0 run, which included a slam from Brand.
The Eagles finished the period on a 10-2 run of their own to give Chapin a two-point lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter swung Irmo’s way. The two teams traded buckets and techs early in the quarter. Irmo received a tech after a player tried to use their shoe to block a shot. A few plays later, Chapin received a tech after a player said something in the area of an official.
Irmo led 20-19 midway through the period and closed the half by outscoring Chapin by seven points to take an eight-point lead into the break.
The third quarter is where Irmo took complete control. The Yellow Jackets out-bodied and out-rebounded the Eagles to get second and third looks at the bucket.
“We really struggled scoring, and we were able to get some extra looks and make a few shots, which we really haven't done this year yet,” Whipple said. “That's something we can build on and hopefully we'll just get better and better as we go along.”
Brand scored nearly half of the team's 21 points in this period by using his strength to create space in either the paint or mid-range and get easy twos.
Chapin tried to come back in the game's final minutes but fell short. The Eagles started the period on a 10-4 run, cutting the lead to 15 points three minutes in.
Both offenses started to struggle as the pace increased and the game became very transition-heavy with each defense applying a full-court press.
“We haven't really worked on a press break or done anything like that, so everybody was just scrambling around and trying to figure out something to do,” Whipple said. “We tried to do a little too much and that is something we will definitely get straight.”
Chapin started to chip away at Irmo’s lead again late in the fourth, but there was not enough time on the clock. The game got as close as 10 points, but the clock sat at just 44 seconds.
The Eagles’ loss marks their second in a row and drops Chapin’s record to (3-4) on the season. The team has two games next week to try and reclaim a winning record. The Eagles host Westwood on Tuesday and travel to Irmo on Saturday for a rematch of this contest.
Irmo snapped a four-game losing streak to capture its first win since the season-opener. Whipple said this win will be beneficial in getting the team back on track.
“It gives us something to talk about and see and watch now,” Whipple said. “This is a good learning game for us, and as I said, this is the first step in us trying to get better every day,”
The Yellow Jackets return home Tuesday for their next game to play a second game against River Bluff. The two teams played on Dec. 1, and the Gators won 39-24.
Irmo rounds out its week by going to Dutch Fork on Friday before hosting Chapin for the rematch.
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