Freshman Ernie Chatman led Boston English (8-5) to an 81-77 home win over Madison Park (3-6) on Tuesday night. The point guard was all over the court whether it was blocking a fast break layup or picking apart the full court press with his cross over. His performance even got him some unexpected fans.
“Every time I play, [I tell him] ‘nobody can guard you,’ and nobody can. To me, he’s one of the best point guards in the state. Nobody can guard him at all,” said junior teammate Shaun Miller.
The freshman even has the only senior on Boston English impressed.
“I’m his biggest fan,” said center Braxton Gulleymabry.
Miller added that his backcourt mate always knows where he is on the floor, playing a large part in his 17-point night.
Nine of those points came in the first quarter after Madison Park’s full court press shut down the English offense as the Cardinals went on an 8-2 run. Boston English coach Barry Robinson took a timeout to stop the momentum.
“We just basically told them, let's focus, because this is a big game for us. We’re playing at home, Madison Park is a really, really good team and we've got to play our game,” Robinson said.
The Blue and Blue responded immediately, going on a 10-2 run in less than two minutes.
“They started breaking [the press] and getting easy layups,” said Madison Park coach Dennis Wilson. “They’re a quick, scrappy, little team and once they figured out what was happening, now you know it wasn’t working no more. You don’t want greyhounds to get off in a greyhound pace.”
The Madison Park half court defense couldn’t stop Boston English, with Chatman and Miller combining for 16 second-quarter points. Wilson had a simple reaction for the lack of defense.
“My guys played terrible. Their guys outplayed my guys. They took care of the ball, they made shots,” Wilson said. “We turned the ball over. Unforced turnovers. How you going to have unforced turnovers? That means you’re rattled, you’re nervous, but we’re young.”
It didn’t help Madison Park that its senior captain, David Stewart, was in foul trouble throughout the third quarter.
“That was the main goal, get him in to foul trouble,” said Gulleymabry, who was defending Stewart throughout the game. “We try to play our best defense to keep him off the glass.”
“[Stewart] did not play a smart, experienced game today. Stupid fouls, missing too many layups; you can’t do it like that. You can’t win like that,” said Wilson.
While Chatman doesn't have as much experience, he showed in the fourth quarter he could be a closer for English. The freshman knocked down both of his free throws with a minute left in the game, making it to a two-possession lead.
“He seems like he’s been doing this for a long time,” Robinson said. “Very solid, very refined freshman.”
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
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