Free Throws Clinch Charger Win vs. Earlham, 62-53
The "free throw theory" has been mentioned once before in this column, but it bears repeating after the ACGC boys' 62-53 win over Earlham last night. It goes some thing like this. If team A makes more free throws than team B attempts, the likelihood that team A will win increases dramatically.
In last night's game played in Earlham, the Chargers converted on twenty two of of its twenty nine attempts from the line (76%). The Cardinals made five of seven free throw tries (71%). In this case, ACGC made THREE TIMES the number of charity tosses that the Cardinals attempted.
In the fourth quarter alone (when Earlham was fouling to stop the clock) the Chargers connected on seventeen of twenty two for 77% from the line. So, in this case the theory definitely proved to be true. When one considers that Earlham outscored ACGC from the floor 48-40, the importance of the Chargers prowess at the line is even more obvious.
The Chargers raced out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter when Eli Kading, Ben Marsh, and Miles Kading each connected on three pointers. Miles ended up with seven first quarter points. ACGC maintained a comfortable lead of ten to fifteen points through three quarters and held a 43-29 lead heading into the final quarter.
The lead swelled to 48-30 with five and a half minutes left in the game when the Cardinals began chipping away at the Charger lead. Although it was unlikely that Earlham would overcome the deficit, when the Cardinals outscored the Chargers fourteen to four over the next three plus minutes, this observer got a little nervous.
With the score now at 52-44, and desperate to get the ball and/or stop the clock, the Cardinals began to foul on every Charger possession. ACGC's ability at the line showed going down the stretch, as the team went ten of fourteen to close out the game. Lucas Marsh and Miles each went three for four, Brock Littler connected on a pair, and Eli and Charlie Crawford made one each. The Chargers made just one field goal in the final frame.
Shooting percentages indicate that the teams were very similar in the percentages made from the field. Earlham was 43% (21 of 49) from the field, while ACGC shot 41% (16-39). Again, the emphasis is on the free throw margin, which was 22-5 in favor of the Chargers.
The Kading brothers led ACGC in scoring with 17 points each, while Ben and Lucas Marsh tallied 9 and 8 respectively. Eli led in rebounding with 8 boards and in assists with 4, while Eli led in steals with 3.
The win concludes the regular season for the Chargers and improves the season record to 16 wins against just 5 losses. The sixteen wins exceeds the previous best by an ACGC team, which was ten wins in last year's 10-13 campaign. The team finished fourth in the WCAC behind champion Des Moines Christian, Van Meter, and Panorama. The Chargers' record in conference play was 10-5, while the team went 6-0 in non conference action.
Charger coach Lance Kading was impressed with his team's early defense and its shooting. "We really set the tone early with our defense. When we do that and shoot the ball as well as we did, we're hard to beat."
And now it's tournament time! The Chargers will open district play on Monday, February 15 with a home game with West Central Valley. Should ACGC prevail over the Wildcats, the next game will be verses Panorama in Panora on Thursday, February 18. Tipoff time for both contests is 7 PM.
Score by quarter:
ACGC 17 14 12 19--62
Earlham 4 11 14 24--53
Individual statistics (TP-REB-ASTS-STLS) EKading (17-8-4-0) Bmarsh (9-2-0-0) Crawford
(3-5-1-1) LMarsh (8-6-3-0) MKading (17-2-2-3) Wardyn (3-0-0-0) Rogers (0-1-0-0) Littler
(5-0-0-0) Weinkoetz (0-0-0-0)