Chelsea boys defeat Vestavia in season opener

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Reporter

CHELSEA – The Chelsea Hornets boys’ basketball team defeated 7A Vestavia Hills on Thursday, Nov. 10, thanks in large part to junior Tyler Coleman, who posted 21 points in his first varsity game for the Hornets.

“Tyler had a fantastic season for our 18-3 JV team last year and he has earned the right to start for us on the varsity level, and we are really excited for what he is going to bring to our team this year,” head coach Nicholas Baumbaugh said.

The Chelsea defense started out strong going on a 6-2 run to start the game and holding the Rebels to just two points for all but one minute of the first quarter.

“I thought defensively we did a really nice job, I don’t really want to give up 52-56 points, but I was pleased with our defensive effort especially being outsized like they were tonight,” Baumbaugh said.

In the second quarter both teams had shed the offseason rust and woke up offensively. The Rebels hit back-to-back three’s, which was followed up by Sam Towery of Chelsea hitting the Hornets first three pointer of the night. After a slow first quarter where the teams combined for 14 points, the second quarter was much more exciting with the two combining for 29.

Marquet was a big reason for Chelsea’s success in the quarter after slicing down the lane on several occasions scoring 6 of his 8 points on the night. The Hornets took a 24-19 lead into the half.

Senior Joseph Lanzi, who is one of the returning leaders for Chelsea, struggled to find space in the first half as both teams were physical, but coming out in the second half he looked like a different player. Early in the third quarter he decided to attack the rim and had success scoring on the Hornets first possession.

Vestavia battled back to a 35-35 tie after hitting a couple of three pointers, but Chelsea ended the quarter on a 6-0 run behind a three from Jonah Moore and an and one from Coleman.

Coming into the fourth with a 41-35 lead, Chelsea stepped up their defensive effort yet again with a great block from athletic junior Josh Hanna that led to a Lanzi three, and then a Lanzi steal that led to a Josh Gregg basket. After an and one from Coleman the Hornets had opened up a 52-41 lead, which was too much for the Rebels to overcome.

Vestavia tried to mount a comeback, but there just wasn’t enough time as they came up short, and Chelsea went on to win by the final of 58-52.

“It’s a good win for us, we’ve only had three days of practice with our football guys in and we haven’t been able to work on what we needed to work on to prepare for this game,” Baumbaugh said.

The difference in the game was free throw shooting. Chelsea ended up 12-15 from the line, while Vestavia struggled all night to sink their free opportunities shooting closer to 50 percent from the line.

“Free throws always win or lose games, they make or break you, so I’m glad the guys were able to knock them down tonight,” Baumbaugh said.

Coleman led the way with a game high 21 points, shooting 100 percent from the field on 8 shots and 100 percent from the free throw line on five attempts. Lanzi contributed 13 points and Marquet added 8.

Mitchell Lawley led Vestavia with 14 points.

Chelsea will play at Gardendale in their next game on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.