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Posted On: 02/28/18 11:31 AM
Saline went to Chelsea on Tuesday evening for a late season tilt. Both teams jumped out of the gate hot, with a quick 5-5 tie. Saline initially handled Chelsea’s half court trap and ball pressure well. The game quickly took a different feel as the defensive intensity picked up. At the end of the 1st quarter, Saline led 16-13. Trevor Arico (G, 2020) led the way for Saline with 9 points, while Quinn Starkey paced Chelsea with 5 points. In the 2nd quarter, Arico and Saline tried to pull away but two quick buckets in the post by Hunter Neff (2019) kept Chelsea within striking distance. The Hornets took a 27-22 lead into the locker room at the half.
The 3rd quarter was a defensive battle at its finest. Chelsea held Saline to 11 3rd quarter points by forcing turnovers with a half court trap and ball pressure. Saline allowed Chelsea to get in their offensive sets, but always had a hand in the face of a shooter. Chelsea scored only 5 3rd quarter points. The 4th quarter was more of the same defensive focus. 2 quick turnovers allowed Saline to extend its lead to 7, 38-31. A Ronnie Buford (2018, F, Chelsea) dunk with just over 2 minutes to play sparked the Bulldogs. Chelsea battled back and trailed by just 2 with 1 minute left. The teams traded quick buckets and Saline missed the front end of 1 and 1 to set the stage. Chelsea had the ball, down 2, with 8.3 seconds left. Saline made one last defensive stand, forcing a highly contested corner three. The shot was never a threat and Saline escaped with a 44-42 win over Chelsea.
Quinn Starkey (2019, G, Chelsea) has a ton of potential.
Starkey will be one the best point guards in the SEC White next season. He is a smooth point guard who can be trusted with the ball in his hands. Despite the solid Saline defense, Starkey was solid with the dribble and never turned the ball over. He has a nice jumper, especially from mid range.
Trevor Arico (2020, G, Saline) and Griffin Yaklich (2020, G, Saline) continue to impress.
These kids can flat out play ball. They were responsible for 35 of Saline’s 42 points. Arico finished with 20, while Yaklich had 15. These two have a chance to develop into a lethal backcourt for the Hornets. Yaklich can weave through traffic while Arico can catch fire from behind the arc.
Ronnie Buford (2018, F, Chelsea) vs. Emmett Turner (2018, F, Saline)
While they weren’t matched up directly the entire game and their individual stats from last night don’t stand out, they were intriguing to watch. When they were matched up with each other, it was a battle between strong and tough athletes. Buford and Turner’s toughness and defense almost negated each other throughout the game.
Adam Hauser (2020, G, Chelsea)
This young man made me want to see him play again. He was VERY active on both ends of the court. Offensively, he was always moving whether he had the ball or not. His activity and movement got him quite a few looks at the basket. While he didn’t shoot at a very high percentage last night, the question lingers: What if he did? I’m interested to see how the sophomore develops his game.
Turnovers have been a problem recently for Saline. They had 15 of them last night. If the Hornets can trim that number, wins will be much easier to come by. In fact, if they reduce their turnovers, Saline could be a threat at districts next week.