Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chantilly vs. Westfield Preview

Boys' Basketball Notebook
Westfield and Chantilly Try to Settle Things
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 12, 2008; Page E06

Westfield Coach Doug Ewell and Chantilly Coach Jim Smith agree that tonight's game is the biggest in a rivalry that started when Westfield opened in 2000.

"This is one of the first times that both teams are really good at the same point," Smith said.

In a matchup that has often decided only neighborhood bragging rights, No. 12 Chantilly (18-1, 10-1) travels to No. 14 Westfield (17-2, 9-1) looking to clinch the Virginia AAA Concorde District regular season championship and top seed (and accompanying first-round bye) in the district tournament.

Even though Chantilly turned back Westfield, 65-52, in their first meeting Jan. 18, Smith gives the Bulldogs the advantage tonight.

"Our guys know that going over there it's us whose back is up against the wall because I give Westfield a lot of the advantages: playing on their home floor, they lost the earlier game, they are very, very talented," Smith said.

Chantilly has won seven straight on the strength of its balanced offense, which includes two double-digit contributors in Justin May (14.6 points per game) and Robbie Athearn (13.6), and three others scoring just under 10 points a game: Austin Decker (9.5), Jake Nolan (8.6) and 6-foot-10 freshman center John Manning (9.0).

Westfield's trio of seniors -- Jamie Richardson (14.1 points per game), Jon Gaston (10.3) and Ball State-bound guard-forward Maurice Hubbard (13.2), -- have lifted the Bulldogs to five straight wins since losing to Chantilly.

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