The freshmen Chargers won their home opener in thrilling fashion. Khalill Walker hit a pair of free throws with no time left on the clock to turn defeat into victory. Walker finished the game with 16 points.
The Chargers home opener on Monday, December 5 was played against old East Suburban rival Marist High School. The early part of the game was dominated by the Red Hawks. While the game was a typical low scoring affair between the two schools, Marist jumped out to an early lead of 10-4 by the end of the first quarter. It was not until near the end of the 2nd quarter that the Charger offense got going. Once the team began to turn up the pressure on defense and create turnovers, the points began to mount on the scoreboard. Lance Anderson became the go-to player at this point in the game. The team’s momentum shifting run would usually begin by Anderson securing a rebound and passing to an open teammate streaking up the floor. Fast-breaks were finished by Walker and the other St. Joseph guards including DaQuan Davis, Darrell Sanders, and forward Demetreus Bailey.
Anderson, who finished the game with 16 points, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line, and 12 boards, controlled the ball in the half court sets. Once the Chargers got their initial movement in the motion offense, Anderson demanded the ball in the low post and through a series of different post moves, attempted shots from close range. This theme continued through the third quarter. The Charger attack slowed after halftime and they still trailed Marist at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started out slowly but the team picked up the momentum as the game neared the final buzzer. The team was helped by the extremely loud and supportive crowd of almost 150 fans. This was a tremendous attendance for a freshmen game so early in the year. Head Coach Marlon London, St. Joseph class of 1998, said the crowd really help energize his players at the end of the game and hopes to see more of the same at Charger home games this season. St. Joseph closed the gap by the end of the 4th quarter, trailing by three points with under a minute left. Davis scored a two point basket to cut the lead to a single point.
The Chargers were unable to force a turnover and had to foul with 7 seconds on the clock. The Marist player missed his first attempt on the one and one free throw and Anderson snatched the rebound and quickly passed the ball to Walker near the sideline. Walker quickly turned and dribbled up the floor but finding everyone covered, decided to keep the ball and go for the game winner himself. As he turned towards the basket and shot the ball, he was fouled on the three point attempt. There were all zeroes on the clock as he stepped to the free throw line, all alone, all eyes on his shot. Even though the pressure was nearly unbearable, he narrowly missed the first attempt but swished the next two free throws to win the game and snap the Chargers two game losing streak. The freshmen boys, (2-2, 0-1 in conference) also played this past Saturday, December 10 at De La Salle High.