Charger boys seize regional title
The Chargers drowned out the United Red Storm 62-27 to win a regional championship on Friday, Feb. 27, in Orion.
“We defended well, and we were crisp on offense all night,” Charger coach Brent Hutton said.
Orion ticked off one of its season goals, winning a regional championship, a week after accomplishing another goal, winning an Olympic Conference championship.
It was a milestone night for Charger guard Josh Hutton, who passed through the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Dominating United gave coach Hutton the opportunity to give all of his players significant minutes on the floor.
“A chance to play in kids in a regional championship is something special,” the coach said.
The Charger reserves ran the offense the best it has been run all year, he said.
Orion players were unselfish throughout the game, Hutton said. They were willing to make another pass to get a better shot.
Meanwhile, the defense shut out United in the second quarter, and held the Red Storm to seven points in the first, nine in the second and 11 in the fourth.
United had only eight field goals during the game.
The Chargers improved to 27-4 for the season. Having already defeated the defending state champion during the regular season, Orion was slated to play the fourth-place team from 2008, Lewistown, in sectional semifinals on Wednesday, March 4.
Charger Cody Williams electrified the crowd with a dunk only seconds into the game.
After the Red Storm’s Alex Gavin hit a three to give his team the lead, Charger Ian Cooper popped in a field goal and a free throw for a 5-3 advantage.
Lucas Grymonprez then connected on a turnaround jumper for a 7-3 lead.
Williams’ tight defense forced the United ballhandler to travel in front of the scorer’s bench with just under 3 minutes to play in the period.
Gavin nailed a free throw and a three to knot the score at 7-all.
Then Hutton arched in a three, and the rout was on.
After Tyler DeDecker grabbed a Red Storm miss, Hutton spun in a deuce that put him over 1,000 points.
Seconds later, another DeDecker defensive board denied United a chance to score before the period ended.
Taking a 12-7 lead into the second quarter, Orion combined red-hot shooting and a stifling defense to forge a 17-0 run.
It started quietly enough, with a Williams free throw, but then United attempted a cross-court pass along the baseline, and Orion’s Matt Knoll ran it down in the corner.
That led to Caleb Nesbitt’s basket, giving the Chargers a 15-7 lead two minutes into the second.
Orion’s margin went to 10 points with Cooper’s putback at 4:41.
Grymonprez nailed two free throws for a 19-7 lead less than a minute later.
When Red Storm tried to put the ball in play against the Charger press, the defenders got a steal and Knoll scored on a layup.
Gavin missed the front end of a one-and-one, Nesbitt tipped the rebound to a teammate.
At the Orion end of the floor, Hutton missed a three, but Cooper grabbed the ball and put it through the net for a 23-7 lead. Nesbitt also converted a miss into two points.
With three seconds on the clock, DeDecker dropped in two free throws.
After the Red Storm failed again to break the Charger press, Aaron McDonald committed an intentional foul. Hutton connected on both charity tosses to give his team a 29-7 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Gavin fired in two points for United, but Williams answered with a field goal for Orion.
United finally got into double digits with two free throws from Gavin a minute into the third period.
The Orion lead went to 32-11 with a free throw by Grymonprez.
Seconds later, Cooper rejected Patrick Olin’s miss. He was whistled for a foul, and Olin made both of his shots.
Then Williams netted two points, and after a traveling call against United, Hutton hit a three from the top of the key.
Williams’ defensive pressure forced a turnover, but Orion was unable to score off it.
The Charger advantage went to 25 points with a pair of Hutton free throws at 4:22, boosting the Orion lead to 39-14.
During the second half of the period, all of the Orion points came at the free-throw line. Cooper shot 4-for-4 and Williams 2-for-2.
The Chargers carried a 45-16 lead into the fourth quarter, which opened with Grymonprez and Cooper hitting shots.
A three from James Matson put Orion up 52-20, and with just over 5 minutes to go in the game Nesbitt connected on two free throws.
Matt Thor popped in two freebies for a 56-20 Charger advantage.
As the clock ticked under 4:00, Danny DeBacker put in two points. A little over a minute later, he stole the ball off the dribbled and scored on a layup.
DeDecker put in the final Orion points.
Cooper and Gavin tied for game-high honors. Each had 13 points.
Hutton tossed in 12 for the Chargers, who got nine from Williams, seven from Grymonprez, six from Nesbitt, four each from DeBacker and DeDecker, three from Matson and two each from Knoll and Thor.
Orion sharpshooters rifled in three triples, two from Hutton and one from Matson.
United found the range from beyond the arc three times.
Orion made 21 of 27 free throws, with Cooper shooting 5-for-5; Hutton, 4-for-4; DeDecker, Thor and Nesbitt, 2-for-2; Williams, 3-for-4; Grymonprez, 3-for-6.
At the line, United connected on eight of 17.