Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chantilly's Bench Comes Up Big

Chantilly's Bench Comes Up Big

With Star Center in Foul Trouble, Howerton Pitches In
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special To The Washington Post
Sunday, December 21, 2008; D12

Chantilly junior forward Matt Howerton wasn't quite sure how to react to the standing ovation he received as he strolled to the bench late in the fourth quarter of last night's 87-69 nondistrict victory over visiting Lee.

With his head down as he strolled off the court, he nearly missed the line of outstretched hands as each of his teammates reached out to tap, high-five or chest-bump the unheralded backup.

Howerton, a thick, 6-foot-3 scrapper who is learning to play the power forward position after being a junior varsity center last season, knows that the Chargers' bench usually reserves its standing ovations for much better known players like reigning Virginia AAA Concorde District player of the year Justin May -- a senior guard who is averaging 12.8 points per game -- and sophomore center John Manning.

"But both Justin and I both have good backups," said Manning (11 points), one of the area's most coveted recruits in the class of 2011. "People don't realize how deep we are. Most teams in this region don't go 13 deep."

Howerton proved Manning's point, scoring six of his 11 points in the third quarter as the wiry 6-11 starting center sat the bench in foul trouble.

Howerton was just one of six Chargers that scored in double-figures as No. 12 Chantilly (7-0, 2-0 Virginia AAA Concorde District) rolled to its seventh straight victory and handed Lee (3-2, 1-1 Patriot District) its third loss in four games.

"We have a lot of depth and anyone can come on at any time," Howerton said.

May's backup Kethan Savage, a sophomore guard, scored seven points in the first quarter, while three-point threat Adam Fridy chipped in seven of his 17 in the third as the Chargers extended their 10-point halftime lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.

The Chargers' depth is "very key because we don't get a lot of competition in the district except for Westfield and Herndon," said May (17 points), "so we have to go hard in practice and that's where we get better."

But the Chargers' depth also could be vital in helping them atone for last season's disappointing finish.

Chantilly won 21 of its first 23 games last season before posting back-to-back losses in its conference tournament final to rival Westfield and a season-ender to Annandale in the first round of the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament.

"It's in the back of our minds," May said.

No. 12 Chantilly 87, Lee 69

Same Face, New Place: Senior 6-5 forward Frank Holloway Jr. led Lee in scoring with 16 points. Holloway Jr., who played for T.C. Williams as a freshman and led West Potomac in scoring last season with 15.8 points per game before suffering a season-ending injury, is playing for his third high school team.
Concorde Giants: Chantilly has beaten its first two district opponents by 20 points apiece.

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