At the end of Thursday night’s Blue Hen Conference Flight A boys basketball game, A.I. DuPont coach Tom Tabb was dismayed while Charter School of Wilmington coach Matt Rubincam was the picture of pride.
One would think the Tigers came out on the short end of the score, but A.I. edged the pesky Force 49-43, causing concern in Tabb’s eyes.
“It’s frustrating when you miss almost 20 free throws and don’t value possessions and turn the ball over,” Tabb said. “We look past teams. The players look at a team’s record, the coaches look at the style of play a team has. Charter played a very good game, they gave us all we could handle right up to the end.”
“We came up short tonight, but the kids should be proud,” Rubincam said. “We knew they could shoot and get to the basket so we spent the last three days working on defense.”
And it showed as the Force (1-12 overall, 0-6 Flight A) held A.I. to four points after one quarter of play.
The Tigers however, behind junior guard Vadil Long’s 14 points, scored 30 over the next two quarters to take an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Charter almost erased that as junior guard Roy Ferrell scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, shrinking the Tiger advantage to two (45-43) late in the frame.
A.I. (8-3 overall, 4-1 Flight A) was able to salvage the win by hitting four of eight free throws in the final minutes, but Tabb knows his team has to play better. “We’re still looking for 100 percent each game. Once we get that, then we can take this program to the next level,” he said.
Rubincam meanwhile feels that better days are ahead for a team that has improved greatly after a rough start.
“This team has the best work ethic I’ve seen in 19 years of coaching,” he said of this year’s Charter squad. “They work hard every day in practice and we feel like we’re getting better every day. We’ll pull one of these close games out eventually.”
E-mail Chris Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org