Chelsea hosted the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats in a big SEC conference showdown on Friday night. Both teams came in unbeaten in conference play and were looking to gain an edge. Huron came in at 8-2 and on a three-game winning streak while Chelsea came in at 8-1. And both teams were ready to play.
Chelsea took off fast using their strength to work down low and Senior Forward Trevor Kingsley got the scoring started with 2 hard fought shots underneath to give the Bulldogs the edge. Junior Guard Cam Cooper hijacked the ball from a River Rat and drove the length of the court for a big bucket and immediately the Bulldogs were up 8-0. Huron came back strong though on an 11-0 run. Then Cooper stole the ball again and was fouled with only .1 seconds on the shot and sank both free throws to put Chelsea up 12-11 at the end of the first.
Huron put the pressure on the Bulldogs and points were hard to come by in the second period for both teams and with a minute left Junior Ryan Mitchell stole the ball & drove the court to put Chelsea up 22-21. Huron drove up the court and was trying to hold the ball for the last shot but with 23 seconds left in the half, Kingsley jumped and used his strength to aggressively block a Huron shot and let the River Rats know they were in for a fight.
Huron came out strong in the third but the Bulldogs did too. Although Huron had the height advantage, Chelsea had the strength advantage with Kingsley and Senior Collin Steinhauer crashing the boards on both sides of the court. Neither team led by more than 2 points at any point in the game at this point and Chelsea Head Coach Josh Tropea did a masterful job answering Huron’s substitutions with his own. With 57 seconds left in the 3rd and Chelsea trailing a technical foul was called on River Rat Avery Lewis. Cooper took the free throws and then right before the buzzer in the period it was Senior Guard Ethan French slipping inside and putting the Bulldogs up off a great reverse layup.
Both teams traded baskets in the third and Chelsea was keeping in the game until Huron’s Darian Root hit a big three-pointer to put Huron up by 5, the biggest lead for either team of the night. From that point on the River Rats outscored Chelsea in the closing minutes, 5-0, en route to a hard-fought victory. Rowley finished with a game-high 11 points, followed by Alec Anderson with nine and Jack Smith with eight.
For Chelsea (9-2), Kingsley and Steinhauer each led the Bulldogs with eight points. Alex Vasquez had 6 points and several big blocks for the Bulldogs, Cooper finished with 5 points.
With four-straight wins under its belt, Huron (10-2) will prepare for a pair of home games next week against Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Lincoln. Meanwhile, Chelsea (9-2) will try to get back on the winning side as they host Adrian Lenawee Christian on Tuesday before hitting the road to face Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday.