Dick Enberg was one of this observer's favorite sportscasters. Enberg was the play by play announcer in many of the biggest sports events in the United States, including many NCAA Final Fours and many significant NFL football games in the 1980's and 1990's and into the early twenty first century. His last gig was as the play by play man for the San Diego Padres baseball team from 2010 to 2016. Although he is no longer with us, Enberg's signature "Oh my!" was a classic statement he used to express his astonishment about an athletic performance.
So, what does this have to do with the ACGC Charger basketball teams? Well, last night's wins over Southwest Valley of Corning were "Oh my!" moments in the brief three year history of ACGC athletics. The Timberwolves girls came into town with a 10-4 season record, having won seven of its last eight games. The Charger girls played what is arguably their best game of the season in defeating the visitors 71-65. "Oh my!"
When the Charger and Timberwolves boys' teams took the floor each team had won just four games on the season. Would this be a struggle to the finish in one of those grinder games? By no means. The Chargers' broke away from a 15-10 first quarter lead to eventually lead by thirty points before finishing off SWV, 79-54. Admittedly, the T-Wolves were not a top quality opponent, but the fact that the Chargers dominated the way they did was an "Oh my!" moment for ACGC. And the win for the Chargers was the fifth of the season, with several winnable games on the horizon. It is within reason that the Chargers can more than double the number of wins--3--that were garnered in each of the first two seasons of Charger basketball.
The Charger girls opened the game with four players--Kennedy and Kylie Young, Savana Fuller, and Genevieve Hoover--scoring during a 12-0 run, only to have the T-Wolves run off ten consecutive points in the last two minutes of the quarter to make it 14-13 after the first eight minutes. The game then settled into a battle between two evenly matched teams. Neither team could break away during the second stanza which ended with a 30-29 lead for the visitors.
When SWV opened an eight point lead at 41-33 with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter, ACGC responded by making its last five shots of the quarter to knot the game at 44-44 heading into the last quarter. Jorja Hoover got the comeback started by making three consecutive baskets. That was followed by Jadeyn Carrick's three pointer and completed with Chloe Largent's two pointer in the lane.
With the Chargers scoring the first six points of the final quarter on baskets by Largent, Sierra O'Brien and the younger Young, they assumed their largest lead, 50-44, since that 12-0 first quarter run. But the T-Wolves weren't done. The teams traded scores for the first five plus minutes of the quarter when SWV scored a three point play to get within one point at 57-56 with two and a half minutes to go.
After that, free throws were good to the Chargers, as they converted on 10 of 15 attempts over the last two minutes of the game, including 8 of 10 in the final forty five seconds. SWV got within 69-65 on three consecutive treys within twenty seconds and with 18.5 ticks left on the clock, but Largent and Hoover the Younger each made a free throw to clinch it for the Chargers.
What was most impressive to this observer was the poise with which the Chargers played going down the stretch. They answered every challenge the Timberwolves threw at them. And they played with the grit that is necessary at this point in the season to get ready for tournament time in February.
Coach Dan Baker expressed similar sentiments when he said, "I told the kids after the game that if we play with that kind of energy and confidence, the sky is the limit for them these last four games and into the tourney. I also let them know that if we shot free throws all season like we did tonight, we could have had three or four more wins.
"If we can keep Jorga out of foul trouble, we can play with and beat either of the teams (we play) on Thursday and Friday. Chloe played a much stronger game and is starting to get a handle on posting up and playing with her back to the basket. The Young sisters will only continue to get better. This was truly a team win as we had nine different girls score out of the ten that played. Good things on the horizon for the ACGC Charger ladies."
Four different Chargers scored in double figures last night, with Kylie Young leading the way with 14 points. Kennedy Young and Jorja Hoover each netted 12 (all of Jorja's in the second half) and Largent scored 11. Sierra O'Brien was close to double figures with 8 points. Savana Fuller and Largent came up with 8 rebounds each. Hoover led in assists with 7 while the elder Young had 7 steals and Fuler had 2 blocks
The team shot a respectable 44% for the night, including 4 of 11 three balls. They connected on 19 of 26 free throws for 73%. The 71 points represent not only a season high, but also establishes an ACGC record for most points in a game. The 19 made free throws are also a season high, as is the 27 points scored in the final quarter.
The SWV boys were no match for the Chargers as the locals outscored the visitors in every quarter, starting out with a 15-10 first quarter. Eli Kading got things off to a good start by nailing a three pointer to score the first points of the game. The Timberwolves had their only lead of the game at 8-6 with three minutes to go in the first frame, after which ACGC outscored the visitors 9-2 in the remainder of the quarter.
A strong 22 point second quarter by the Chargers gave ACGC a 37-20 halftime lead and the rout was on. The Chargers connected on 9 of 17 shots from the floor, two of which were three pointers. Seven locals scored in the quarter, with Noah Nelson hitting for 7 points.
The third quarter was even more productive, with ACGC netting 26 points. The Chargers shot 60% for the quarter on 9 of 15 shooting. Seven Chargers split the nets with Bryce Littler setting the pace with nine points in the quarter. With reserves playing much of the fourth quarter, the only question was the final score. SWV outscored ACGC in the last quarter, 19-16.
The 79 points scored by the Chargers represent the second highest total of the season, topped only by the 92 scored at West Central Valley in December.
Four Chargers scored in double figures, with "Q Younker and Bryce Littler leading the way with 14 each. Noah Nelson came up with 11 and Lucas Marsh had 10. Younker's 11 rebounds enabled him to achieve a double double on the night. Miles Kading led in assists with 6, and Noah Nelson had 5 steals to pace the Chargers.
Charger shooting was solid with 30 makes out of 64 field goal attempts for 47%. That includes 8 treys out of 20 tries. Two point shooting was exactly 50% on 22 of 44 tries. The Chargers made 11 of 18 free throws for 61%. Of the 75 possessions for the Chargers, they scored on 36 of those possessions for 48%, the third best of the season. Only Games with Glidden-Ralston and CRB were better in this regard.
The victories run the girls' overall record to 9-8 (6-6, WCAC) and the boys' record to 5-11 overall (2-10, WCAC). The teams will next play this Thursday when they will entertain Van Meter in a WCAC matchup, with a 6 PM start for the girls' game.
Score by quarter Score by quarter
SWV 13 17 14 21--65 SWV 10 10 13 21--54
ACGC 14 15 15 27--71 ACGC 15 22 26 16--79
Box score: REB
FG 3PT FT O-D AST ST TP FG 3PT FT O-D AST STL TP
Fuller 1-9 0-0 1-2 4-4 0 3 3 Ekading 3-10 1-6 0-0 1-1 1 0 7
Largent 4-7 0-0 3-3 1-7 1 1 11 Sargent 2-5 2-3 0-0 1-1 1 0 6
Embleton 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Nelson 4-6 0-0 3-4 1-1 4 5 11
JHoover 4-7 0-1 4-7 2-3 7 0 12 Marsh 4-11 0-1 2-2 1-6 2 3 10
O'Brien 2-4 1-2 3-4 2-4 0 2 8 MKading 2-4 2-3 0-2 0-1 6 0 6
KyYoung 5-7 0-1 4-6 1-1 1 0 14 Wierick 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0
Lemke 2-5 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 3 5 Byars 3-5 1-1 2-2 1-4 2 2 9
Carrick 1-2 1-2 0-0 0-2 3 0 3 Pauley 0-2 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
GHoover 1-3 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 3 Littler 5-12 1-3 3-7 1-4 1 1 14
KeYoung 4-11 0-1 4-4 3-2 1 7 12 Madsen 1-2 0-0 0-0 3-0 0 0 2
Younker 6-7 1-1 1-1 4-7 1 1 14
Ure 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0