• Chrisman holds on in back-and-forth battle with Falcons

  • At the end of the night, William Chrisman boys basketball coach John Vickers leaned back against a wall and let out a long sigh of relief.

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  • At the end of the night, William Chrisman boys basketball coach John Vickers leaned back against a wall and let out a long sigh of relief.
    That’s all he could do after watching his team trade blows with a feisty Van Horn squad for two-plus hours in an eventual 83-74 victory Friday at William Chrisman High School.
    “Oh my gosh,” said Vickers, whose team has scored at least 75 points in its last four outings. “We’re really glad to win, there’s no doubt about it. But it was a dogfight. We knew that Van Horn was going to come in here and give us everything they had. They did and more.”
    The Bears (6-8) raced to an 8-0 lead but the Falcons quickly rallied and took an 18-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. Over the next two periods, neither team led by more than six points as the squads traded leads five times in the third quarter alone.
    Eventually, an 11-0 Chrisman spurt to start the fourth gave the Bears a 66-56 advantage and clipped Van Horn (5-9).
    Although the Falcons battled back, drawing within 68-65 with three minutes to go, the Bears were able to hold on as senior Eli Alvis tallied a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds.
    “I’m really glad Eli Alvis plays for us,” Vickers said. “Because he carried us so many times. Rebounding, scoring around the bucket, picking up loose balls, hitting perimeter shots. We would not have won tonight if it wasn’t for Eli Alvis.”
    All five Chrisman starters scored in double figures as Connor McAhan finished with 17, Chris Horn notched 14 and Alex Ball and Brett Pendergist added 10 apiece.
    The victory was the fourth in a row for the Bears and improved their record to 6-8; modest but significant considering they went 5-20 a season ago. That improvement is even more impressive considering the hodgepodge group that Vickers is working with.
    Chrisman leans heavily on Alvis and juniors Ball and Pendergist, but the rest of his roster consists of three transfers – Ben Frost, Corey Parker and Elyzer Grullon – a freshman (Eli Henderson) and a collection of players that couldn’t crack the varsity ranks a year ago.
    “I like this new experience we have,” Alvis said. “We’re all learning together. We’re all learning at the same pace and we’re just getting our wings.
    “I’m way closer to these guys. I feel like bonding with them and being so close is what’s making us come together.”
    Van Horn coach Daniel Bieser said his squad’s brief lull to start the fourth was a product of fatigue, induced by Chrisman’s constant full-court press that forced 22 turnovers.
    Although the Falcons came up short, Bieser also was able to take away plenty of positives from the effort. They were led by senior DeMico Hawkins, who recorded a season-best 24 points. Robert Bluett added 20 and five steals and Anthony Winningham chipped in with 12 points.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Hopefully we can keep up the intensity,” Bieser said. “Even though we did lose, I thought we played hard. If we can play like this from here on out we’re going to be competitive with just about anybody we play.”
    Kylan Alexander ripped down seven boards (six offensive) to lead the Falcons. McAhan hauled in eight rebounds and swiped three steals for the Bears.

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