On Saturday afternoon, the boys’ varsity basketball team played host to the Bearcats of Hotchkiss in the annual regular season finale for both squads. Though the Pelicans have been competitive, they have fallen just short to the talented Bearcats each of the last four years. Despite another heralded Hotchkiss line-up, Loomis Chaffee turned in their best outing of the season; besting the Bearcats 55-52 in a memorable performance.
After the opening tip off, it seemed that the Pelicans would again be plagued by turnovers. The first four possessions resulted in four turnovers and Hotchkiss built a quick 7-0 lead. Senior leadership would be important as point-guard Rich Conway calmed the team down and led a methodical offensive game plan that took advantage of what the Bearcats did defensively and helped get the Pelicans back on track. Physical play inside by seniors Alex Perrone and Jeff Burke also helped set the tone as Loomis Chaffee went toe-to-toe with Hotchkiss and trailed just 29-24 at the midway point.
Knowing that a quick start was important in keeping pace with the Bearcats, the Pelicans converted on their first three offensive possessions and ended up taking the lead, one that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest. Up 30-29, the Pelicans stingy defense picked up, led by senior Will Lewis who had back to back steals that deflated the Hotchkiss attack. The steals helped increase the lead to 34-29 and gave the host squad confidence that they could win the game. Sophomore Pat Dickert, who was the leading scorer for the home team, fed off the strong start and began to pick up his game. Hotchkiss had no answer for Dickert, as he attacked the basket hard to get easy buckets for himself, or find open teammates for good shots.
Loomis increased their lead to 45-35 midway through the second half, when it seemed Hotchkiss was poised for a comeback. A couple quick baskets by Hotchkiss narrowed the lead to just three and doubt began to creep into the Pelican faithful. However, Lewis and Dickert came up with clutch scores and the tenacious defense would not quit, as the boys hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
The win for the boys’ basketball team was the culmination of countless hours spent in the gym trying to improve as a team. Seniors Cory Morgan, Rich Conway, Dan Trompeter, Hannibal Hopson, Jeff Burke, Will Lewis, Alex Perrone, Zach Williams and Josh Winslow will surely be missed.