After a lackluster second quarter, one that saw visiting Chapelgate trim Glenelg Country's one-time 16-point lead down to single digits, Dragons' senior Matthew Bernetti didn't have to dig too deep into the memory bank to drum up a little motivation.
"We have six guys that played on the team two years ago when we lost on our home floor to those guys, so we know that feeling after the game in the locker room and none of us wanted that again," Bernetti said. "We had to pick it up and start playing our basketball, start doing what we know we can do on both ends of the floor."
Using the intermission to regroup, Glenelg Country did indeed get back to its brand of basketball immediately to start the third quarter. On the strength of an 8-0 run, the Dragons broke things open en route to an eventual 64-34 victory over the Yellowjackets in the annual Route 40 Challenge between the two local programs.
Isaiah Burnett led the way with a game-high 18 points, Anthony Longpre chipped in with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Glenelg Country improved to 2-0 on the young season.
"I just went to the numbers. According to our statistician, we had given up five offensive rebounds and shot 3 for 15 from beyond the arc in the first half," Glenelg Country coach Kevin Quinlan said. "So basically if we could stop giving them second chance points and start punching the ball inside, I knew we would get going. And we did a much better job in both those areas in the second half.
"But overall, we are a defensive-based team and that's where our energy comes from. Once we got going on defense, it created so much transition and it really was a thing of beauty."
For Chapelgate (2-3), which got eight points apiece from the trio of Deion Graves, Jon Hughes and Earl Mitchell, the fall off in the second half was a matter of the team getting away from its brand of basketball.
"When we were running our stuff, hitting some shots there in the first half, we looked pretty decent. We really kept ourselves in the game," Chapelgate coach Frick Frierson said. "That second half, though, we just didn't play hard. Our motto is always play fast, smart and hard. And we were missing that last part … we just let up for some reason."
On top of the run to open the second half that created a double-digit lead it never lost, Glenelg Country also put together an additional 15-0 spurt in the fourth quarter to really put the game away.
In the early stages, the Dragons got going behind a mix of threes, dunks and lay-ups in what was a fast-paced first quarter. Longpre hit two from beyond the arc, while Burnett hit one from deep as well.
Burnett added a couple lay-ups and a dunk, with CJ Wilson (12 points) adding a couple lay-ups of his own. By the end of the first quarter it was 21-7 in favor of Glenelg Country.
"Those first few minutes were great, we were flying around on defense, getting the ball and going. It was sustaining that into the second quarter that we struggled with," Quinlan said.
Chapelgate got itself back into the mix of things behind the 3-point shot. Mitchell and Hughes each hit shots from beyond the arc and Graves made a handful of foul shots to help cut the team's deficit to 27-18 at the break.
But Glenelg Country issued the knockout blow in the third quarter, with Josh Hightower (10 points) and Bernetti (five assists) helping facilitate things. Heading into the fourth quarter the Dragons' lead had ballooned to 21 points, 46-25.
"Getting the ball out in transition is huge for us and I think that is one of the biggest weapons this team has," Hightower said. "Team's can't stick with us when we get out and run, so that's definitely something we are emphasizing each and every game."
Glenelg Country never saw its lead dip below 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons now have a week off before taking on Gilman next Monday at home.
Chapelgate, meanwhile, gets right back at it on Wednesday against Goretti on the road. The team has already played three MIAA A Conference teams this winter, losing each contest, but has also already picked up a championship at the Arlington Baptist Tournament that was played last weekend.
Frierson says the program prides itself on never backing down from a challenge in the hopes of being battle-tested come the end of the year.
"There's a culture for Chapelgate basketball that we try to create in terms of that "David vs Goliath" mentality because we are a little school but we really like to challenge ourselves," Frierson said. "These kids, they like to play against the best teams so we've gone out and scheduled them the last few years. We really pride ourselves on building that toughness."