Senior forward Nicholas Richards and junior forward Matthew Peel combined for 28 points to lead the Hodgson Silver Eagles to a 56-44 victory over A.I. DuPont in a third round DIAA state basketball tournament game played at Glasgow High School Tuesday night.
The third-ranked Silver Eagles used their height advantage and athleticism to outrebound a very solid Tiger squad by a 39-19 margin.
"Our game plan was to take away their threes and only give them one shot, because the games they won, they got 7 or 8 three-pointers, so we really wanted to limit their amount of threes, they were only going to get one shot," said Hodgson coach Ed Sobocinski.
Hodgson led most of the game, but the Tigers were persistent and stayed close until late in the fourth quarter.
From the start, Richards and junior Bilal Nichols got the Hodgson offense in high gear, but the Tigers slipped ahead 12-11 after one quarter.
The Eagles moved the ball around more in the second period, hit some open shots and took a tentative 27-20 lead into halftime.
Again the Tigers were able to stay within striking distance by playing a consistent defense, and committing strategic fouls to prevent Hodgson from going on any long runs. Five different players scored for A.I. in the third period, but the Tigers still trailed 39-31.
In the fourth quarter, Hodgson paraded to the foul line, making 9 of 19 attempts. As often as A.I. tried to creep back into the game, the Eagles came up with critical baskets or good defensive stops. Wa'Mere Watson hit a three-pointer for the Tigers with 3:36 remaining to close the gap to 48-40, but the Eagles help on to win the contest, and advance to the semifinal round at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center on Thursday evening.
Whenever we play a good team, we try to make them play at our tempo, and that's what we did tonight, and we played well as a team, and I'm glad to be with these guys," said Richards. "I was able to score tonight because if the other team doesn't box me out, I'm going to go for it, and that's what I did tonight," he said.
Richards scored 16 points to lead Hodgson to victory. Peel scored 12 and Shayquan Cannon added 9 points. Peel said his primary responsibility is on defense, but he'll help out on offense when needed. "I'm not the player who goes out and scores 20 points a game, but when I have a mismatch, I take my shots, and that's what happened tonight," said Peel.
Braxton Watson led the Tigers offense with 12 points, while his teammates Jeff Bradford scored 8 points, and Murphy finished with 7 points.
Page 2 of 2 - "We had a few guys come up with some key plays, and the teams that make those plays in critical situations are the teams that are going to advance," said Sobocinski.