THORNBURY — On a team of underclassmen that has been together for just a few months, Aaron Thompson looms large for Glen Mills.
So as his Battlin’ Bulls saw a 17-point lead over Chichester whittled away to four Thursday afternoon and some of the younger members of the backcourt falter under the late-game strain, Thompson knew he’d be the one to stop the bleeding.
“I just try to get my teammates together,” Thompson said. “They look at me as a captain on this team, so I just try to bring them together, tell them to slow it down.”
Thompson’s stabilizing force helped tamp down Chi’s surge, powering Glen Mills to a 53-37 win.
The Eagles used a 9-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to claw within four points at 38-34, a comeback aided by 10 Glen Mills turnovers on 12 trips up the court. But the game-changing calm came from Thompson, the 6-4 forward.
He head-manned a break and dumped off a bounce pass to DeAndre Wright for a lay-in. He drew attention in the post for a kick out to Nasir Johnson for an open 3-pointer. Then Thompson finished a basket at the rim, spurring a 15-1 run that put the game away.
Thompson dominated Chichester to the tune of 19 points to go with 18 rebounds and three blocks.
“We know what we have to do to be able to score,” Thompson said. “We know what we have to be able to do to not turn the ball over, so if we just slow it down and play our game and not their game, we’ll come out on top. When we played our game, we went on a run and were on top.”
The rebounding category was the defining feature of the game. Thompson and Nafis Smith (six points, 13 rebounds, three blocks) held court in the lane, part of a 48-24 edge for the Bulls on the boards. The ability to limit Chichester to one-and-done possessions combined with the Bulls’ penchant for second-chance points was a demoralizing plan of attack.
“Me and Thompson, it’s good,” Smith said. “We always rebound, crash the boards. It’s an advantage because he’s taller and I’m one of the other taller guys, so we have to crash the boards. My teammates help crash, too.”
With the way Chichester (1-11, 0-2 Del Val) shot the ball, Glen Mills had plenty of chance to practice boxing out. The Eagles hit a paltry 17 percent of their shots from the field (9-for-53), including 1-for-21 from 3-point land. They entered halftime down 30-17, with Josh Hankins accounting for 10 of the points and three of the four made baskets in the opening 16 minutes.
DeAndre Wright the second chance bucket. Glen Mills leads Chichester, 30-17 at half. pic.twitter.com/zjYnnbyV9M
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) January 10, 2019
Chichester’s spark came from Jamese Lundy-Byrd, who scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter, frequently going to the blow-by to get to the basket. Chi also turned up the defense, holding Glen Mills (2-9, 1-1) to eight points in the third quarter. Coupled with the turnovers woes and frequent fouls of the hosts, Chichester cut the deficit to 38-31 after three quarters.
“We went into a box-and-2 to shut down the bigs, and they couldn’t get any more buckets out of it because they’re the main people on the team,” Lundy-Byrd said. “We shut that down and we got back into it.”
Jamese Lundy-Byrd with 8 3Q points. Chichester within 38-31 of Glen mills. pic.twitter.com/3s0h9LdmKl
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) January 10, 2019
Once the Bulls stopped hurting themselves, they started inflicting pain on the scoreboard. After the streak of turnovers, they followed with six straight possessions with points. Wright and Johnson hit 3-pointers, and an 11-point explosion in less than two minutes ended the drama.
“We just had to keep pushing,” Smith said. “We had to motivate the point guard to keep his head up because he was starting to bring himself down, so we were bringing him back up and he got it together and it kept us going.”
Both teams find themselves on the wrong echelon of a striated Del Val. Both teams entered with one win on the season, two of three such teams in the conference (with Interboro). And while Thursday’s height advantage isn’t likely to hold against every team they face, the determination Glen Mills showed on the boards looks like the seed of an identity that a young roster can build around in the second half of the season.
“We just take pride in getting rebounds and helping each other out,” Smith said. “We push each other to get rebounds.”
Also in the Del Val League:
Penn Wood 52, Academy Park 45 >> Zac-Chae’us Williams scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, and Desman Johnson added 10 points as the Patriots withstood AP’s late charge. Davantae Smith added eight points for Penn Wood (6-3, 2-0).
Shermik Lofton paced Academy Park with 22 points, and Naseim Harley added 12 points, but the Knights (7-3, 1-1) saw a three-game winning streak snapped.
Chester 79, Interboro 32 >> There was nothing Interboro could do about Karell Watkins, the sophomore going off for 29 points and 20 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the campaign. He scored 13 points in the third quarter, as the Clippers (6-4, 2-0) blew the game open with a 28-7 margin.
Rahmaad DeJarnette scored 17 points, and Michael Smith added 14 points, five rebounds and a career-high nine assists for Chester.
Alec Wood led Interboro with 13 points.
In the Central League:
Penncrest 48, Haverford 31 >> Malcolm Williams posted a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds to augment four assists, and Isiah Rice added 17 points for the Lions (10-2, 6-0), winners of four straight.
Aidan Carroll added eight rebounds and five assists to go with two points, and Marquis Tomlin chipped in nine points for Penncrest.
John Seidman paced Haverford (5-5, 3-4) with 13 points.
In the Catholic League:
Archbishop Carroll 58, Father Judge 45 >> Kiyl Mack scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the second half as Carroll used a 17-4 margin in the fourth quarter to break open a tie game.
Tairi Ketner chipped in 11 points, and Luke House scored 10 for the Patriots (9-5, 5-1).