Arlington The Chantilly boys’ basketball team trailed the Yorktown Patriots late in the first quarter on Thursday night when junior guard DeAndre Harris drove to the basket and scored.
Liking what he saw from the Chargers' bench, head coach Jim Smith responded by saying, "all day."
“Tonight, we came out [and] we shot a lot of jump shots early,” Smith said. “Finally, [Harris] puts it on the floor and gets to the rim. It was ‘all day,’ both to communicate that he could do that, but also to get our kids to know we need to start attacking the basket more and not to be so quick to settle for jump shots.”
Harris finished with 13 points, including a pair of off-the-dribble field goals in the fourth quarter, and Chantilly snapped a three-game losing streak with a 52-46 victory at Yorktown High School.
Harris also showed his perimeter-shooting ability by burying a deep 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“I thought DeAndre was great tonight, offensively --- [he] hit shots [and] took the ball to the basket,” Smith said. “He was the best player on the floor a lot tonight. … He’s quick, he can blow by you, but then if you play off, he has the ability to knock down 3s. That’s a tough matchup.
“His biggest enemy over the years has just been his confidence. Now he’s confident, he believes in himself. Last year, if he missed a couple shots, he’d back away from the game. Now he just keeps playing.”
Chantilly led by three with 21.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when Harris went to the free-throw line and knocked down a pair to give the Chargers a two-possession lead at 48-43.
“I always try to get started early,” Harris said. “I always try to make sure my first shot is a good shot. I try not to take tough shots too early so I can get in a rhythm and eventually start [hitting] more shots later in the game.”
Harris was one of three Chargers to reach double figures. Senior forward Brian Sydnor led the way with 15 points and senior forward Sean Huelskamp finished with 12 points.
The victory snapped a three-game skid for the Chargers, who improved to 13-4 after starting the season 12-1. Chantilly won its first nine games before losing to Mountain View in the semifinals of the Pohanka Chantilly Classic on Dec. 28. The Chargers bounced back with a win against South County and Concorde District victories against Westfield and Oakton. That’s when Chantilly hit a rough spot, losing district games against Herndon, Robinson and Centreville.
Smith said the Chargers’ recent struggles should have kept the team from overlooking Thursday’s non-district opponent.
“We desperately needed a win one way or another,” Smith said. “We were, I think, battling ourselves and our confidence as much as we were battling Yorktown.”
Chantilly travels to face Westfield at 7:30 p.m. today.
“[Beating Yorktown] makes us feel a lot better,” Sydnor said. “[It] gives us a lot of confidence going into [Friday’s game against Westfield]. Sometimes it makes you feel good just to get a win under your belt after a few tough losses.”
Yorktown trailed for most of the night but remained within striking distance. The Chargers led 27-19 at halftime, but the Patriots opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run, tying the score at 30-30 on a bucket by senior post Nick Yore with 3:02 remaining in the period. A jumper by Yorktown’s Ben Criswell tied the score at 36-36 with 6:02 remaining in the fourth, but Chantilly’s Harris answered with a bucket 15 seconds later and the Chargers led for the remainder of the contest.
“I’m definitely pleased,” Yore said, “we were able to play with them.”
Yore and junior forward Matt Pietropaoli each finished with 11 points for the Patriots. Criswell scored eight points and junior guard Zack Esherick had six.
Head coach Rich Avila said he wasn’t pleased with the Patriots’ decision making in the first half, or their execution at the end of the fourth quarter.
The loss dropped Yorktown’s record to 7-10. The Patriots are 4-5 in the National District and will host Falls Church at 7:45 p.m. today.