Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Chantilly Basketball

Chantilly Aims to Avoid Repeat Collapse
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 8, 2008; E05

With a 71-39 win over Oakton last night, Chantilly remained the only undefeated boys' basketball team in the Northern Region and one of only six undefeated teams in the Washington area.

Sixteenth-ranked Chantilly's 11-0 start is eerily similar to its undefeated start in the 2001-02 season, when the Chargers averaged 70.9 points per game and beat opponents by an average margin of 17.9 points en route to a perfect 16-0 mark.

Chantilly went into last night's game sporting nearly the same averages: scoring 72 points per game and beating teams by an average of 17.3 points.

Coach Jim Smith hopes the similarities between those two teams stop there.

"A good start doesn't get you anything," said Smith, whose 2002 team faltered down the stretch, losing five of its final eight games. Four of those losses came to teams the Chargers had already beat during their dominant start, including Oakton.

"We were talking to the kids Saturday about that and we were talking about the Oakton game," Smith said of a 67-44 victory over the Cougars on Jan. 8, 2002. "Oakton had a horrific start that season, and we played them somewhere around this time. We were undefeated and they were 1-9. We won the game, but we did not play well, and Oakton played well. The next thing you know, we are sitting at home and they are playing in the Patriot Center" in the Northern Region tournament final.

This season, Chantilly has beaten just four teams with winning records, and its 10 opponents are a combined 46-58. But the Chargers are deep: Four players are scoring in double figures, including senior guard Robbie Athearn (14.5 points per game) and 6-foot-10 freshman center John Manning (10.5 points, six rebounds).

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