With an abundance of seniors and shooters, William Chrisman coach Jake Kates anticipates some entertaining and stress-free nights on the bench.
Such as Tuesday night.
Kates didn’t have much to do as Chrisman put on a shooting clinic in its season opener against Van Horn. The Bears sank 13 3-pointers, drove the lane at will and rolled to an 84-51 boys basketball victory in the Chrisman gym.
“This is their thing, man,” Kates said. “Hopefully most games we just get to sit back and watch them do their thing.”
That thing included six Bears hitting treys for a combined 13 of 19 behind the arc. Isaiah Jackson, Alex Calhoun and Zach Fashing were each 3 of 5, Marcus Wigfall hit two among his team-high 22 points while Antonio Rodriguez and Icheari Whitley each made one.
Jackson and Calhoun finished with 15 points each, and Fashing just missed double digits with nine. All three are seniors, part of a nine-senior contingent that formed the nucleus of last season’s Class 5 state quarterfinalists.
“We spend a lot of time in practice shooting,” Kates said. “We’ll have to shoot the ball well if we want to get where we want to get this year. We had a great night shooting, and there wasn’t one guy you could key on.”
Chrisman proved that point with a 27-point first quarter that ended with an 11-0 Bears run. Wigfall and Rodriguez hit back-to-back threes, and Jackson drove the lane in transition for a 27-9 Chrisman lead.
“We have shooters everywhere,” Jackson said. “We basically attack inside and kick it out when we can. We just basically pull it and he gives us the green light.”
Jackson knocked down three straight treys in the second quarter as the Bears kept pulling away. He hit two back to back to start a 12-2 run that he ended with a layup off a steal. Chrisman led 51-20 by halftime and never let Van Horn come closer than 25 in the second half.
“That’s the kind of player he is,” Kates said of Jackson. “He’s a difference-maker. That stretch run, you can’t really say it changed the game tonight, but I think it probably let them know it was over.”
Van Horn was as cold as Chrisman was hot, especially in the first half. The Falcons made only 6 of 27 shots in the first half and were 2 of 25 from 3-point range for the game. Caleb Tanis finished with 19 points for the Falcons, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. Brycen Dean also reached double figures with 12.
“You’re going to have good shooting nights and you’re going to have bad shooting nights,” Van Horn coach Max Sollars said. “I don’t think our lack of shooting isn’t what put us in the big hole. You don’t take care of the basketball very well and they get a lot of open threes, they’re going to go in at some point.”
They certainly did Tuesday night for Chrisman. And Kates is looking forward to watching many more.
“There are going to be nights we don’t shoot the ball well and then we’ll figure out how good we are at some other things,” Kates said. “But for the first night I was happy with the way they performed.”