Thompson gets past Chelsea easily on opening night

Published 11:16 pm Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chelsea's Aaron Washington pulls up for a jumper in the Hornets season opener against Thompson on Nov. 12. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Chelsea’s Aaron Washington pulls up for a jumper in the Hornets season opener against Thompson on Nov. 12. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

CHELSEA – The 2015-16 basketball season kicked off for both the Chelsea Hornets and Thompson Warriors on Nov. 12 when the two teams met at Chelsea High School. Thompson led essentially the entire game and pulled away in the second half, eventually winning the chippy season opener by a final of 63-40.

“I thought we played really, really hard,” Thompson head coach Patrick Davis said after the game. “Which we expect. That’s going to have to be a constant for us. You can tell it’s the first game in terms of execution. But we always preach if you play as hard or harder than whoever you’re playing against you’re always going to have a good chance to win.”

Chelsea is still working in Matt Marquet, Ben Haskins, Calen Russell and Jay Vickers, who joined the team this week in the wake of the football team losing in the first round of the 6A playoffs to Blount, and it was obvious at times they are all still getting their basketball legs under them. All four played and will play significant minutes for Chelsea this season, with Marquet and Haskins likely to start the majority of the season.

While Thompson lost leading scorer Rashad Strother off of last season’s team, the Warriors returned Demonte Caffey, Michael Freeman, Reggie Chambers and Drew Thomas, all of whom had big nights in the opener.

Thomas had 11 first quarter points while Freeman added a monster jam to lead the Warriors to a 15-11 first quarter lead. Both teams came out of the gate running all over the court, diving after loose balls and in general causing as much mayhem as possible. Chelsea kept the game close in the first quarter thanks to Aaron Washington and Marquet, but a hot start to the second quarter for Thompson put the game out of reach.

Two Caffey threes to start the second quarter brought the Thompson lead to 23-12, and the Warriors took a 30-17 lead into the half.

The second half was more of the same, with Chelsea doing what it could to keep the game close but Thompson never letting the Hornets cut the lead to single digits as the Warriors rolled to a 63-40 season opening win.

Thomas led the way for Thompson with 21 points while Washington led Chelsea with eight.