Some student-athletes look to the big leagues to learn how to take control of a game, others to their coach and others still to their parents.
For freshman Bulldog Ernie Chatman, it’s all three and it paid off in English’s 70-63 win over O’Bryant.
“My father pushes us, he just keeps our head up. Whenever we’re shooting [badly] or anything, he’ll have us take extra shots. We just work hard in practice and I think it pays off,” the freshman point guard said.
His father, Joseph Chatman (assistant coach for O’Bryant), got to see those extra shots pay off as his son capped off a 19-point performance, hitting both of his free throws to ice the game with less than a minute left.
“Last four minutes is a point guard show,” said Chatman. “Watch Chris Paul for an example, last four minutes is his game.”
Chatman and junior shooting guard Shaun Miller completed a backcourt for English that scored 37 of the team's 70 points. Miller got the Bulldogs off to an early 7-point lead, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter.
“I went to scout them in the Christmas tournament against Walpole and I told them [Shaun Miller] is a lights-out shooter and he hit three [3-pointers] in the first quarter, so that makes me a little mad, because I drive an hour to go scout and than that kid kills us,” said O’Bryant coach Drew Brock.
O’Bryant, already playing without its starting point guard Harry Demosthene (sidelined with an illness), missed 10 of its 26 free throws.
“Free-throw shooting has been our Achilles [heel] all year,” Brock said. “Tomorrow’s practice will literally involve nothing but running or shooting free throws.”
He added that playing without Demosthene forced him to move his regular shooting guards to the point guard position, which resulted in his team’s sloppy play. According to Robinson, this played right to his team’s advantage.
“The game plan basically was to suffocate their guards because we know they have really, really good big guys,” said Robinson.
Despite all of that, O’Bryant still had one more run. Down, 55-43, the Tigers went on a 10- 4 run during the first four minutes of the quarter to close within 6 points.
Robinson had his team slow their pace, resulting in each team exchanging a basket and two free throws over the next two minutes and thirty seconds.
English than gave up just one more field goal and all it was left to do was hit its free throws.
English is 5-3 and O'Bryant fell to 4-3, but to Ernie Chatman, the satisfaction is only temporary.
“We’re thinking about next game, whoever is in front of us,” said Chatman. “Burke’s Thursday, we’re thinking about beating them by 100. We won that game, we’re going to celebrate tonight [but] tomorrow we’re back to business.”
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