Brookfield Central was supposed to simply play the gracious host, serving as home base for the Brandon Jennings Invitational and welcoming top programs from around the country.
But the Lancers showed the many curious onlookers that they had more than just a nice gym.
The Lancers staged a stunning 64-56 win over Chester (Penn.), a team ranked No. 22 in the nation and No. 1 in its home state. The program, which had a 28-20 lead at halftime while demonstrating a superior level of athleticism, nonetheless ran into an adjusted and determined Lancers squad in the second half.
"The first few times we came down the floor, they took the ball right out of our hands," Central coach Mark Adams said. "It took us all that time (in the half) to get used to it. They were killing us in transition and putting a 6-7 and 6-5 guy on the blocks and just throwing it up to them. We made an adjustment to keep one of our guys going back and forth between the two blocks and stay in front of them, so at least it wouldn't look that inviting."
Chester went cold in the second half, and Central caught fire. Elijah Goodman roped in 15 of his 20 rebounds in the second half, and Riley LaChance scored 18 of his 29 as the Lancers outscored the Clippers in the second half, 44-26. Caleb Mortag added six rebounds, and Goodman added four second-half baskets in the paint. Adams also said Brad Newman (11 points) had one of his best games ever.
Down the stretch, the Lancers buried 11 of 15 from the free-throw line. Adams had been able to procure one game film on Chester before facing off with a team that administered pressure all game long. Adams credited assistants Ralph Mierow and Chris Foley, with the latter making the suggestion on the defensive adjustment that helped turn the tide.
It was a superb bounceback for the Lancers (10-2) after a loss to Sussex Hamilton four days earlier.
"We've played 12 games and played poorly in one, and that was the one," Adams said. "It was unfortunate because it was a huge game, but they've been a model of resiliency."
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