It took nearly three quarters to get rid of the first-game jitters, but Glenelg Country finally got around to playing its kind of basketball Tuesday.
With their smothering defense and increased efficiency on offense, the Dragons outscored visiting Chapelgate 21-6 over the final nine minutes to open the regular season with a 55-40 victory.
"First game, all the people were here … I think there were some butterflies," said Glenelg Country junior Warren Powers, who finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. "As the game went on, though, we got it together."
The game was actually nip and tuck for the majority of the first half. Glenelg Country had the lead most of the way, ahead 13-9 after the first quarter, but never managed to pull ahead by double digits.
Chapelgate got all the way back to a tie game, 20-20, with 2:12 left in the second quarter following a 3-pointer by Gordy Frierson (11 points) and at the break the Yellowjackets trailed by just one, 26-25.
Things stayed tight to begin the second half with Chapelgate getting itself back into a tie game, 30-30, courtesy of a 3-pointer from sophomore Isaiah Harris-Winn (13 points) midway through the third quarter.
From there, however, Glenelg Country began to put it all together.
Powers made a pair of free throws and a lay-up to increase the lead to four and that sparked a Glenelg Country spurt to a 41-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Kevin Boyd (15 points) made a three to close out the third period.
Things didn't slow down for the Dragons in the final quarter, as their tight defense forced tough Chapelgate shots, created turnovers and led to points for a number of different guys.
"Our emphasis for the whole year is to play defense and be unselfish," Powers said. "You could see that coming out toward the end."
For the Yellowjackets, which were coming off an Arlington Invitational Tournament championship over the weekend, it was just a matter of losing composure down the stretch.
"They turned up the pressure and I'm not sure if we ran out of gas or got rattled, but it got away from us," Chapelgate coach Frick Frierson said. "It wasn't for lack of effort, though. The wheels may have fallen off, but the guys never stopped fighting out there."
Chapelgate returns to action on Saturday against John Carroll, while Glenelg Country's next game is on Tuesday against St. Albans.
Glenelg Country 55, Chapelgate 40
GC (1-0): Boyd 15, Powers 14, Jove-Vives 10, Davis 6, Jones 4, Moune 4, Barnard 2.
Ch (3-1): Harris-Winn 13, Frierson 11, Bryant 6, Lawrence 4, Grandy 4, Obi 2.
Half: 26-25 GC.
Arlington Baptist Basketball Invitational
Chapelgate 66, Cristo Rey 47 (Championship)
Ch: Harris-Winn 18, Bryant 14, Grandy 14, Frierson 9, Lawrence 7, Obi 4.
CR: Eggleston 17, Holliday 12, Page 9, Camphor 7, Jones 2.
Chapelgate 93, Carroll Christian 20 (Opening game)
Ch: Grandy 20, Obi 16, Frierson 12, Lawrence 9, Sikka 9, Harris-Winn 8, Bryant 7, Olunuga 6, Russell 4, Brotherton 2.
CC: Cole 16, Zak 2, Schumaker 2.