The Charles Hays Secondary School senior boys basketball team won the first game of their back-to-back set against Caledonia in commanding fashion, beating their opponents 71-31.
“We played really strong defensively and that’s why we won,” said Rainmakers forward Liam McChesney. “The guys on the bench came in and were really strong so there was no drop at any position whenever a guy from the bench came on.”
The Rainmakers set the tone defensively from the beginning of the game, getting hands in passing lands, cutting off dribble penetration, and rebounding with force. McChesney led the way on offence scoring inside and shooting effectively from behind the arc to tally 20 points at half time, and lead the team to a 42-14 lead.
“I thought we had high energy,” said Mel Bishop, the team’s coach. “And our play on the defensive end was key.”
In the second half, Caledonia came out in a 3-2 zone and were deliberate on offence, hoping to slow the pace of the game down and disrupt the Rainmaker’s scoring rhythm.
“They were purposefully holding the ball and running 25 seconds of the clock every possession,” Bishop said. “It threw us off a little bit.”
The strategy limited some of the Rainmakers opportunities close to the basket, but offensive rebounding from McChesney and forward Kai Leighton gave the Rainmakers additional opportunities to score, enabling them to extend their lead to 57-20 going into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a great job on the offensive glass,” Bishop said.
Both sides emptied their benches with the game out of reach. The sides exchanged baskets for most of the quarter with the Rainmakers eventually taking the 71-31 victory. McChesney was the Rainmaker’s leading scorer with 35 points, with Leighton adding nine.
The two sides played again in the second game of their series on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Charles Hays Secondary School. Bishop said the team would be looking to adjust to be ready for the zone defence in their next game.
“The timing is still early,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet but we’ll get better.”
Rainmakers repeat defensive performance in second game
The Rainmakers brought similar defensive intensity to the second game of their series against Caledonia on Sunday, using their pressure to jump out to an early 29-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Rainmakers were able to extend their advantage in the second quarter, holding Caledonia to four points for a 46-14 lead. Forward Liam McChesney led the way again with 17 points.
Caledonia employed similar tactics in the third quarter as they did in the second half of their first games, playing a 3-2 zone defence and running time off the clock on offence to slow the pace of the game down. The Rainmakers were better prepared for this strategy however, and used crisp passing and cutting to find seams in the zone and pressing on defence to increase the pace of play.
The Rainmakers took a comfortable 78-26 lead into the fourth quarter where both teams emptied their benches to give their back-up players time on the court. CHSS went on to win the game 82-28 behind 20 points from McChesney, 19 points from Malcolm Brown and 13 points from Kai Leighton.