CHARLESTOWN — Christian Academy jumped ahead big and early Saturday. Charlestown fought back but could never quite recover, eventually falling 53-44 at home.
The Pirates outscored Christian Academy in the second half (28-26), grabbed more rebounds for the game (35-29) and had the same number of turnovers (17), but the first quarter hole they found themselves in proved to be too much to dig out of.
“We had opportunities at the end, but we had opportunities at the beginning of the game, too,” said Charlestown coach Sean Smith, whose team fought back from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to make it a 5-point game with just under two minutes remaining. “We should have just done a better job of executing from the very start, so that we wouldn’t have been in that situation late in the game.”
Early on, Charlestown was hesitant to go to the post, which was heavily guarded by Christian Academy’s big inside presence, including 6-foot-10 shot-blocking specialist Connor Chalfant. Instead, the Pirates (2-8) settled for ill-chosen jumpers and perimeter shots that wouldn’t fall.
The Warriors, meanwhile, went on a scoring frenzy and took a 19-6 lead early in the second quarter with help from a couple of early 3-pointers by Aaron Eldridge and a pair of back-to-back fast-break layups and a trey by guard James Martin.
Eldridge finished the night with a game-high 19 points, including four 3s, the last of which gave the Christian Academy (8-3) its biggest lead at 43-26, one minute into the fourth quarter. That bucket was also the Warriors’ final field goal of the game.
From there, Charlestown went on a five-minute long 16-4 run, closing the gap to 47-42, sparked by a Jamal Long jumper and ending with a 3-point conversion by Tanner Wesp and a 3 by Dewey Cardwell.
Christian Academy, which struggled at the free throw line all night, missing more than half its 36 attempts, hit six over the next minute while the Pirates were held scoreless despite having their own opportunities with trips to the foul line and Christian Academy turnovers.