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For FHS Boys’ Varsity Basketball, It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint

Sophomore Elijah Easter sizes up defender. (Photo by Viva Loudoun)

After finishing last year 20-12 and being state runner ups to Murray High School, the boys’ varsity basketball team is looking to make another run at states.

FHS had a rocky start to their first four games going 1-3, winning the first game against Tuscora by a score of 67-48. FHS leading scorer was senior point guard Robbie Kemmerer with 27 points, senior forward Lance Johnson put up 14 points, and senior forward Anish Kalyan scored 11 points. FHS fell to Robinson in the first game of the Explosive Tip-Off Tournament by a score of 69-65 and on following day lost to Battlefield 62-58. One bright spot of the tournament was Kemmerer being named to the All-Tournament team putting up a stat line of 18 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assist.

FHS dropped another game to Loudoun County losing 77-51, but were quickly able to bounce back just two days later easily beating Briar Woods 59-30. FHS was led by sophomore Elijah Easter who scored 14 points, senior Nick Westfall scored 12 points and Kemmerer scored 9 points.

It was a short turn around for FHS as they headed down to Colonial Forge high School to play Stafford High School at the Forge Tip-Off Classic. The game was tight from start to finish requiring a game winning shot from Easter. Johnson won player of the game scoring 17 points. Three days later FHS faced Patriot and won in dominate fashion with a score 56-33, Johnson had 14 points and freshman Alex Bokman scored 11 points. With the win against Patriot FHS improved their record to 4-3.

On Friday Dec. 20 FHS faced off against a new look John Champe, lead by new head coach Walter Webb. Champe also added two junior transfers to their roster, Jalen and James Jasper from Highland High School in Warrenton, VA. Along with the Jasper brothers, Champe returned senior Tyler Savage.

Coming into this game both teams were evenly matched with offensive weapons on both sides.  The game started with FHS going on a 10-2 run, then Champe finally got into a rhythm and the score was close at the end of the first quarter with FHS up. FHS began to pull away in the second quarter taking a lead into halftime. At the end of the third quarter FHS had a 9-point lead. The fourth quarter was tight and down to the wire, and the game ultimately came down to a few key plays and free throws. Unfortunately, FHS fell short trying to mount a late game comeback, with a final score of 64-60. Kemmerer had a triple double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Johnson scored 7 points, had 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

On Friday Jan. 3, FHS faced off again against Champe, this time Freedom victorious, but once again the game was very close. FHS started hot in the first quarter going on a nice run, making the score 18-16 at the end of the first. FHS took an 8-point lead over Champe heading into halftime. In the third quarter FHS struggled some on offense and Champe was a able to take a 6 point lead, but in the dying seconds of the third quarter Kaylan hit a clutch three to bring the deficit to three. In the fourth quarter, FHS took the lead back with some great defense and rebounding down the stretch. Senior shooting guard Zach Hoening was able to make some key three pointers and free throws to help seal the deal. The final score was 66-59 FHS. Kemmerer scored 12 points along with 4 assist and 4 rebounds, Johnson had a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and both Hoening and Bokman scored 9 points. With this win FHS improved their record to 7-4.

With an overtime loss to Riverside and wins over Rock Ridge, Woodgrove and Potomac Falls FHS stands at 10-5. The next home game is on Jan. 31 against Riverside at 7:15.

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