By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Marshfield, Mo. — After a thrilling, double-overtime victory over Bradleyville in the semifinals, Chadwick didn’t leave anything to chance in Friday’s title matchup against Halfway.
The Cardinals from the south took control midway through the first quarter and never looked back, upsetting top-seeded Halfway 74-61 in the Class 1 District 4 championship.
William Nalley scored 25 points — including five 3-pointers — to lead Chadwick.
Head coach Shawn Guerin discussed how getting back to his team’s frantic, trap-happy style of play made all the difference against a dangerous opponent.
“[Halfway’s] guards are so good,” Guerin said. “Coming in, we had kind of a game plan where we’ve kind of taken our kids away from what we’re used to doing. We realized right away — two or three minutes in — that we had to do something different; go back to who we are. We like to play the up-tempo game, we like to trap and get after people.”
While Nalley’s perimeter barrage helped Chadwick maintain a double-digit lead throughout the contest, it was teammate Jaron Vanhouden’s quick spark off the bench that captured it midway through the first quarter.
The sophomore forward proved to be a puzzle Halfway was unable to solve early on, scoring 8 of his 19 points in the opening period to help pace a 10-0 Chadwick run.
Guerin praised Vanhouden’s performance against an undersized Halfway lineup — Chadwick dominated the boards with a 2-to-1 rebounding advantage.
“We count on [Vandhouden] all year long” Guerin said. “He comes off the bench for us. We start fast with a fast group, and when we realized that they had no size underneath to really do anything — and we knew. He’s an awesome kid, and we just knew he would have a big game tonight, and he did — it was huge.”
Chadwick led 39-24 at the break and stretched its lead to 59-38 after three quarters.
In the fourth, Halfway attempted to rally behind senior guard Hayden McCarthy, who scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the final period and reached the 1,500-point career milestone in the process.
After the game, Halfway head coach Ryan Toombs talked about his team winning its first Polk County League title since 1990 and how it achieved much more beyond mere wins and losses this season.
“Even though we got a second-place trophy, our season was so much bigger than that,” Toombs said. “This group has been through a lot and, without going into it, I just told them that nobody’s perfect. We finished 7-1 in the conference, and it was just a tremendous accomplishment — it’s going to look cool in our gym and all that — but there’s so much more that I’m going to take away from this group of guys. It’s hard to leave that locker room for one last time without that group.”
Class 1 District 4 Championship: Chadwick – 74, Halfway – 61
Chadwick 21 18 20 15 — 74
Halfway 12 12 14 23 — 61
Chadwick scoring: William Nalley – 25, Jaron Vanhouden – 19, Evan Smith – 12, Calvin Rains – 5, Hayden Rozell – 4, Jarin Cunningham – 4, Jacob Stevens – 3, Garrett Gardner – 2
Halfway scoring: Hayden McCarthy – 29, Nehemiah Porter – 9, Jarrett Rovenstine – 8, Trenton McCarthy – 7, Trey McCarthy – 5, Sloan Gallivan – 3