Chantilly's Evan Fowler scored the go-ahead basket and made six free throws down the stretch, and his defense on Oakton's Kevin Brown sparked the 15th-ranked Chargers past the Cougars, 57-49, in a AAA Concorde District boys basketball game before 1,400 last night at Chantilly.
Brown scored a game-high 21 points, but struggled in the fourth quarter when Chantilly pulled away. The 6-foot senior did not score a basket during the final 12 minutes.
"He doesn't look that quick, but he is quick," Fowler said of guarding the left-handed Brown. "But I think I made him work for his baskets and it paid off in the fourth quarter. I think he got tired."
Oakton failed to score during a 6-minute 32-second span in the final quarter.
With four minutes gone in the second quarter, Brown's double-pump layup gave the Cougars their biggest lead, 22-10. That's when the Chantilly turnaround began.
"Lately, we haven't been playing like we were earlier in the season," Chargers Coach Jim Smith said. "But then somewhere in the second quarter we shook out of our funk. It didn't translate to baskets, but I could see that we were playing harder."
Despite an eight-point halftime deficit, Smith was confident of his team's chances. "[Smith] went into the bathroom during halftime and came out and said we were going to win," Fowler said.
The Chargers (14-1, 3-1) proved Smith correct. They tied the game twice during the third quarter, then took the lead for good when Fowler drove the lane for a hesitation layup that made the score 41-40 with 3:42 to play.
"My job is to guard the other team's best scorer and to get the ball to Mike [Scott] and Brian [White], but I'll shoot if I'm open," said Fowler, who finished with 10 points.
Fowler also took care of distributing the ball, as White and Scott scored 20 and 16 points, respectively.
Scott's second three-pointer, off a feed from Fowler with 1:25 left, was the game's final basket. Chantilly made 13 of 16 free throws during the final minute to ensure the victory.
Note: Frustrated with the officiating and down six points with 2.4 seconds left, Oakton Coach Charlie Thompson went two-thirds of the way across the court during a timeout to yell at referee Don Cronin. He was assessed a technical foul, then as the game ended, bolted across the floor to confront Cronin again. He bumped the official as Chantilly students spilled onto the floor.
On the way to the locker rooms, Thompson was prevented from following Cronin downstairs to the officials' locker room by two Fairfax County police officers.
Thompson declined to comment on the incident.