Men’s Basketball season ends with early playoff exit

Chaparral+Basketball+Guard+%2312+Anthony+Taylor+being+guarded+by+Rock+Valley+College+players+%2322+Jared+Mayes+and+%234+Isaiah+Box+at+Joliet+Junior+College+during+the+2015+Region+IV+Division+III+Mens+Basketball+Tournament+on+Feb.+28.+

Lucas Koprowski

Chaparral Basketball Guard #12 Anthony Taylor being guarded by Rock Valley College players #22 Jared Mayes and #4 Isaiah Box at Joliet Junior College during the 2015 Region IV Division III Mens Basketball Tournament on Feb. 28.

James Kay, Sports Editor

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After winning their first game of the Regional Playoff against Joliet, the Chaparrals lost in a one-sided game against the number one seeded Rock Valley Golden Eagles.

The Chaparrals struggled to produce offensively and committed eight turnovers in the first half alone. They showed great ball movement but Rock Valley’s tight man-to-man defense was too overbearing for them to find open shots. Rock Valley’s formula of pressuring the back court and double teaming anyone who went near the basketball, worked out brilliantly. This strategy forced COD to settle for long range shots as there weren’t any openings in the paint. COD didn’t make a shot until 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the game and they missed their first three shots.

On the other side of the ball, there wasn’t much COD could do to stop the Rock Valley offense. They established an inside presence early on and forced the issue in the post. Even when they weren’t focusing on high percentage shots, the Golden Eagles were connecting with most of their outside shots. COD did a good job with contesting Rock Valley’s long range shots but it seemed like everything was falling for them.

At halftime, the score was 43-27 Rock Valley.

When it was time to resume the game, COD looked like a completely different team. Head coach Ed Reed must have said something to his players, since they exuded more energy and confidence on defense in the second half. The defense looked sharper as the Chaparrals didn’t allow many uncontested layups or daylight inside. They pulled the game to within eight before Rock Valley took over once more.

The score was 49-41 with 12 minutes remaining when Rock Valley’s point guard, Mo Jackson, hit a 3-pointer to get the lead back into double digits. COD didn’t recover as they shot just 37 percent from midrange in the second half. It wasn’t pretty for them shooting the ball down low either as they went 6-12 shooting in the paint.

After the Golden Eagles shot an abysmal 28 percent to start the half, they were able to get hot as they made five of their last six shots, two of them being 3-pointers.

Each team pulled their starters with 2 minutes and 20 seconds left in regulation. Sophomores Paris Dunlap and Jonny Wolf both got standing ovations from the crowd as they walked back to the bench. It was a nice moment in a night where the Chaparrals didn’t play the way they had in mind going into the game.

COD didn’t quit until the final buzzer sounded. The second team forced two turnovers and created six points in the last 2 minutes of the game. Rock Valley tried to dribble the ball up the court and drain the clock but the Chaparrals refused to give in even though it was clear that the game was penciled in as a Golden Eagles’ victory.

Throughout the game, Coach Reed looked frustrated with his team’s execution on both sides of the ball as he frequently changed the lineup, trying to find an answer for the Golden Eagles. His words at the end of the game matched his gestures from the sideline.

“I don’t think we played as well as we should have played or could have played,” said Reed. “We didn’t execute very well offensively and we didn’t play defense very well.”

He did admit, however, that Rock Valley is a strong team and a tough foe to go up against.

“Rock Valley’s a good team, and they are the number one team in the country and they did what they needed to do to win. I give a lot of credit to Rock Valley and they did a great job of executing offensively.”