Flint Hill Basketball Cruises Past Jefferson in Semifinals
The Driving Spirit undefeated going into Summer League championship game
The Flint Hill Boys basketball team continued their winning ways with a convincing 51-44 victory over the Thomas Jefferson Colonials.
Britton Anderson and Chystian Brown led the way with 13 points apiece, and captain Daniel Giguere added 11 as the Driving Spirit got up early and never looked back.
The host school has swept all competition this summer with a perfect 10-0 record and will now take on the winner of the Herndon vs. Potomac Falls in Tuesday night’s championship at 7:15.
The Driving Spirit rode the tenacity of Giguere early on, as the rising senior leader scored seven quick points on put backs and set the tone in the paint.
“He really plays hard, it is just the type of kid he is,” summer league coach Kavon Acktar said. “Even if he’s not scoring, you know he will impact the game with his hustle.”
Akhtar, now an assistant for Coach Rico Reed, whom he played for until graduating in 2007, put his team in an aggressive trapping 1-2-2 full court press. Not only did the strategy create turnovers but it also rushed the Colonials into shots they may not have taken otherwise.
“Coach Reed has always preached that we can run on anybody,” he said. “We really value having the more athletic team, and try to utilize that.”
However, with last season’s leading scorer Troy Thomas nursing an ankle injury, and Akhtar missing four other regular contributors, points at the other end were hard to come by. The game remained tight most of the first half until a pair of rising sophomores came up big off the bench.
Anderson and Mat Kennedy both came on to hit key 3-pointers and Brown added a midrange jumper before the half-time buzzer to give the Driving Spirit a 26-15 halftime lead.
“TJ was sitting in their zone, and Matt and Britton are two of our best shooters,” Akhtar said. “When they started hitting, it opened up space for Chrystian to go to work.”
The Colonials chipped away at the lead several times in the second half, but each time the Flint Hill defense answered the call, using active hands and constant ball pressure to disrupt each run.
Anderson and Brown combined for 17 of the Driving Spirit’s 28 second-half points, and a Giguere block and outlet for a layup sealed the deal with a minute remaining.
The Driving Spirit has been busy this summer, as the Flint Hill Summer league is one of three in which the team has participated in on top of last week’s summer camp. Still they remained focused on the task at hand, one win away from a perfect season.
“It’s great for us just to be playing basketball in the summer, staying in shape, and going against the bigger public schools,” Akhtar said. “I think if we keep playing hard and matching their intensity, and get solid contributions form our young guys, we have a great chance Tuesday night.”