Attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, the idea of “success breeds success” has been around for thousands of years.
Locals who want an idea of what this is in practice need look no further than the Chatham Charter basketball teams. With only a handful of regular season games remaining for both teams, the two Knights teams are a combined 31-4 overall.
Charter boys head coach Jason Messier believes the two teams have fed off each other all season. When the girls go out and take care of business, it motivates the boys to try and match their intensity and do the same.
“Both teams like each other,” Messier said. “They’re close. They support each other. And I think that’s good for our school. It promotes our school even more, just seeing two teams have success, and both teams are doing it the right way. They both go out and play hard. I think it’s good for the entire school community.”
Messier’s squad boasts the better record of the two teams at 20-0. The Knights picked up their latest win Monday afternoon, 85-40, over Eastern Alamance.
Coming off a loss in last year’s 1A state final, the Charter boys look determined to exorcise any demons they might have encountered last year during their playoff run. This year’s boys have made a renewed commitment to the defensive side of the court, and through their first 20 games, the Knights have only allowed 30.1 points per game.
This is down from the 35.1 points per game Charter allowed during their 33-2 campaign last winter. The Knights are also averaging more points on the offensive end at 74.0 per game, which is the best mark in the entire county so far this winter.
“Defense continues to be our focus. We work on offense, but we trust our guys when it comes to offense. Obviously, we have a really good point guard (sophomore Beau Harvey) who can run our team on the offensive end.”
Entering Monday’s game, four Chatham Charter boys — senior Adam Harvey (16.4), sophomore Brennen Oldham (10.0), senior Aamir Mapp (10.0) and sophomore Beau Harvey (9.0) were averaging at least nine points per game.
While they suffered a 49-34 loss to Eastern Alamance on Monday, the Chatham Charter girls are still among the top teams in Chatham County so far this season. Prior to Monday’s loss, the Knights had won six straight games under head coach Jeff Patterson.
Unlike the boys team, the Charter girls have a clear star leading the way in senior Tamaya Walden, who is averaging 20.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.5 steals per game this season. Walden has scored at least 15 points in every game this season and has eclipsed the 25-point mark four times.
The two other players averaging at least eight points per game are juniors Meah Brooks (11.3) and Delana Loflin (8.9). For the season, Chatham Charter is shooting less than 40% from the field and under 25% from the 3-point line, but they find ways to win thanks to some inspired play on the defensive end.
The Charter girls are allowing their opponents an average of 35.2 points per game this winter. Last season, that number sat at 38.4. Last year’s Chatham Charter girls went 19-9 overall and made it to the second round of the playoffs before falling to Clover Garden School.
Both teams’ schedules the next several weeks will feature games against conference opponents, but one big matchup with a county team looms Feb. 11, when the Knights will hit the road to play Seaforth. The Seaforth girls are currently 12-2, while the boys are 10-5.
While his team definitely has that matchup circled, Messier has drilled his team about staying focused and taking care of business in league play in the time between now and the team’s regular season finale.
“We’ve talked a little bit about Seaforth, just that they’re out there going forward, but we don’t overlook the other opponents we still have on our schedule,” Messier said. “We know we have a job to take care of. Even though we had success against our conference opponents last year, it just takes one bad game where nothing goes your way, and the other team plays as well as they’ve ever played. Those are kind of the challenges of playing the right way.”
Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.