Game Summaries & Headlines.
Forest Park 14 11 9 13 - 47
Colonial Forge 12 15 17 12 - 56
A few years ago in an interview, Eagles bench boss Anthony Mills told me that his basketball philosophy centered on the defensive end of the court. “If you can’t play defense, you can’t play for me” he said. Over the years some of his teams swarmed opponents all over the floor and were successful. Others, couldn’t adjust to the helter skelter type of basketball and found themselves turning in their uniforms early.
The 2021-2022 Eagles have that work hard mentality and at least over the first two contests (wins over Wakefield 67-62 and Forest Park 56-47) have shown the maturity of a team that has been together for a few campaigns and the heart of a lion to play for each other while getting it done.
On Friday night the Forest Park Bruins came calling and before a big crowd the Eagles came out with a swarming defense that seem to frustrate the visitors early. The Bruins adjusted and outscored the “good guys” in the opening stanza to take a 14-12 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter Bruin frustration started to boil over and the more annoyed the boys from Woodbridge became, the game went from basketball to Ultimate Fight Club. No there were no fights, but the physicality picked up and we had bodies airborne all over the floor as the striped shirts “let them play”. At times though you wondered if you were watching a 2-1-2 zone or 3rd down and six from midcourt.
The Eagles were chasing the score for much of the first half but they kept battling, keeping it close with that trademark defense. Just before halftime the Forge sent a message trailing 25-24. Gabe Jones got a rebound off the glass after a monster block in the paint and his outlet pass to Senior Ashton Schoolfield hit the point guard in the numbers with time ticking off the clock. Three dribbles brought Schoolfield to just past the midcourt line and he let go a jumper that found NOTHING BUT NYLON and the Eagles went to the locker room with a 27-25 advantage.
The shot drew a roar from the GREEN WALL but more importantly gave the Eagles the jolt they needed as it turned out to be one of the turning points of the contest.
Out of the halftime locker room the Eagles brought the game back to basketball as it was intended and outscored the Bruins 17-9 in the frame behind the inside domination of Fredo Abel who scored 9 of his game high 19 points to give the GREEN a double digit lead headed to “winning time”!
The Eagles were outscored in the fourth but only by a 13-12 count and that was too little too late and the Eagles won their second game of the year. Besides Abel’s 19, Schoolfield threw down 11 and Gabe Jones had 8 points but he was Mr Clean on the glass swatting shot attempts out to the perimeter and out of harm’s way.
High Scorers for the visitors were Dekavion Moore with 12, Samuel Norfleet with 7, and Winston Raford with 6 in a losing cause.
The Eagles hit the road for the first time in the season when they visit Glen Allen on Saturday afternoon. The Forge will travel to Hylton next week before returning home to start the second annual Forge Tip Off Classic at the Forge. Their first opponent in the Classic is the Cosby Titans on December 11, 2021 at 6:30pm.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: The difference in this Eagles team from 2020-2021, they are another year wiser, they made plays on Friday night that they would not have made last year. “We’re growing up slowly”, said Mills. Warning to teams coming into the Forge to play in 2021-2022…..prepare to be frustrated.
Forest Park: Andrew Perry 0, Jaiden Parker 3, Ethan Salvatierra 2, Noah Thezue 0, Christian Smith 2, Suratel Muluneh 0, Samuel Norfleet 7, Roman Hendrix 0, Jack Dora 0, Azaan Sheikh 6, Anthony Osei 5, Dekavion Moore 12, Winston Raford 6, Brandon Edozie 4, Morgan Payne 0, TOTALS: 16 10—17 = 47
Colonial Forge: Ahmad Esco 7, Ashton Schoolfield 11, Gabe Jones 8, Elijah Wise 0, Max Alhanati 0, Derrious Ransom 0, Jaiden Olgesby 4, Josiah Golden 0, Fredo Abel 19, Camden Henderson 0, Jordan Blake 0, Jovan Danner Newsome 0, Charleston Hall 1, Keshawn Sharrier 6, Xavier Wilson 0, TOTALS 22 10-18 – 56
3 Pointers: Forest Park 5 (Raford 2, Moore 1, Sheikh 1, Norfleet 1) Colonial Forge: 2 (Esco 1, Schoolfield 1)