By Mitchell Guy
The story of Wednesday night’s 111-78 victory over the Lorain County Community College Commodores was defense. The Challengers men’s basketball team forced the issue by way of the full court trap, which they instituted early and often.
By double teaming the ball handler on nearly every play they were able to force an incredible 21 steals to go along with 5 blocks. When Challengers head coach Mike Duncan was asked about his team’s effort on the defensive end, he said, “We thought that we could come in tonight and pressure them a little bit to speed them up.”
That’s exactly what his team was able to accomplish. This was an up-tempo contest which lead to prolific scoring. The Challengers were in command for most of the game after pulling away mid-way through the first quarter and taking a 19-point lead into halftime. They were able to stay hot from 3-point range after their 47-percent performance from deep.
The Challengers are currently the best in the conference in this category. The boys were strong on the glass as well with contributions from starter Robert Fomby as well as Brett Thomas coming off the bench; both had double digits in rebounds and points. The game was sealed early after an alley-oop exclamation point, from Conor Mabry to Jalen Stewart, to eclipse the 100-point mark.
This was the first of three consecutive dunks which deflated any energy the Commodores may have had left. The win is the teams second straight after they had struggled shortly largely due to the loss of starter Cairo Brown to suspension. Browns impact was evident in this game with him cashing in another big performance highlighted by 19 points and 9 assists. Teammate Robert Fomby was asked about Brown and the energy he brings, Fomby replied confidently “That’s our point guard.”
Sitting at 3-1 in conference play, the Challengers are looking to make a push for the playoffs. Wednesday’s performance made it clear to the rest of their competition that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Robert Fenbers contributed to this report. All stats courtesy of OCCAC.ORG.