ATHENS — Charles Dickens penned the phrase “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” to open his book, “A Tale of Two Cities,” nearly 150 years ago. That phrase can also describe the Eastern Brown boys’ basketball game against Chesapeake at the Convocation Center in Athens on Sunday.
It was a tale of two halves for the Warriors. The team started the game on a 9-0 run and didn’t allow the Panthers to score a point until T.J. Stivers picked up a foul with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Eastern would take a 10-6 lead into the second quarter.
Charles Bellamy was on fire for the Warriors in the first period. He scored seven of the team’s 10 points, including a three-pointer. Chesapeake missed all five shots from behind the arc in the stanza and were just two of 13 from the field overall.
Things didn’t get any better for the Panthers in the second period, though they did nearly double their shooting percentage. A Chesapeake rally tied the game at 14 before Nick Kelch converted a basket to put the Warriors back on top. After another Panther score, Eastern finished the second half on a 7-0 run, including a three-point play from Marcus Day, to take a 23-16 lead into the halftime break.
The third quarter is where the script flipped. The Warriors shot just two of 12 in the period (16.7 percent) while Chesapeake connected on five of their 11 attempts from the floor (45.5 percent) including a pair of three-pointers.
A 12-0 run that lasted the final 4:31 of the third quarter and the first 1:08 of the fourth put the Warriors down by five points at 32-27 with roughly six minutes left in the game.
Eastern wasn’t done yet. The squad cut the lead to one point at 33-32 with less than five minutes remaining. Neither team scored for two minutes of gametime before Bellamy struck, putting the Warriors back ahead 34-33 with 2:53 left in the game.
However, the Warriors would score just two points in the remainder of the contest. Wes Stephens converted a three-point play to give the Panthers a 36-34 lead, one that expanded to 40-34. After a pair of Kelch free-throws, the Panthers hit two more baskets, including a layup with one second remaining, to seal the victory.
Turnovers were a problem for Eastern Brown in the game. The squad finished with 12 while Chesapeake gave up the ball just eight times. However, the Panthers held a 13-4 edge on points off turnovers and a 6-2 edge on fast-break points.
After shooting 55.6 percent in the first half and limiting Chesapeake to just 26.9 percent, the Warriors shot just 17.9 percent (5-28) from the floor in the second. Chesapeake rebounded in the half, hitting 10 of their 19 attempts (52.6 percent).
Eastern out-rebounded the Panthers 34-30, with 10 of those boards coming from Kelch. The senior also chipped in a team-high 12 points to earn a double-double for the game. Bellamy scored 11 for the Warriors, the only other Eastern player with more than four points. Marcus Day hauled in nine rebounds for Eastern.
Chesapeake was led by a pair of 14-point outbursts by Gabe Rhoades and Brad Meadows. Jake Stevens addded nine for the Panthers.
Eastern Brown finishes the season with a 17-8 overall record and a third-place finish in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Division I standings. The Warriors posted a 9-4 record in conference play, behind Peebles (10-3) and Lynchburg-Clay (12-1).