Chantilly sophomore John Manning looked primed for a true breakout performance in the first half of Tuesday’s championship game at the Pohanka Chantilly Classic.
Just over two minutes into the second quarter, the lanky, 6-foot-11 center briefly hung on the rim after throwing down a thunderous two-handed dunk over Landon junior guard Delonte Wellington.
Manning converted the following free throw — after being fouled on the slam — and tied the score at 24. But with momentum teetering in favor of the host Chargers (9-1, 2-0 Concorde), the Bears (7-2) quickly regained the lead and did not relinquish it in their 72-60 win.
“I’m always excited to see somebody dunk,” Chantilly coach Jim Smith said. “It was one of those things where he was actually winded at the time and then he got that dunk in transition, and I’m like OK, I’m gonna keep him in a little longer.
“I think we did a good job in the second quarter of settling down and getting back in the game, and you know we didn’t get him many touches in the first quarter. We were able to get him a few more in the second quarter.”
The Chargers were down by as many as seven points on two occasions in the first quarter but fought back while trying to contain Christian Webster, Landon’s own attention-demanding senior star.
Webster, one of last year’s leading scorers in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, scored 28 points in the final game and finished with 85 in the three-game tournament, earning a second consecutive tournament Most Valuable Player honor. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 43 points in the 2007 final, a 94-86 loss to the Chargers.
“He’s good,” Manning said of Webster. “He’s really good at drawing fouls; he got to the free throw line a lot, maybe more than we wanted him to.”
<b>WHILE MANNING’S SIZE</b> alone led to two of Landon’s forwards — Darion Atkins and Stephen Matthews — fouling out, Webster also forced some whistles.
Late in third quarter, Manning and Webster even traded fouls on each other. Chantilly’s giant picked up his third and would eventually foul out in the fourth quarter.
The sophomore made only two of his 10 field goal attempts, finishing with just 12 points.
Chantilly senior Hinga Wuya came off the bench to lead the team with 16 points, while sophomore Matt Howerton’s 10-point, four-rebound outing helped him earn All-tournament honors alongside Manning.
The Chargers shot just 4-of-17 from long range, possibly an indication of the next couple of weeks, as junior sharpshooter Adam Fridy is serving a 30-day athletic suspension.
On the girls side, Chantilly (7-3, 2-0 Concorde) faltered in the semifinal against Mills Godwin of Richmond, losing 42-34. The Eagles lost the championship game to West Springfield.
“If you took our three-point percentage, our free throw percentage and our field goal percentage, you didn’t even get above 50 percent when you added them all together,” said Chantilly girls coach Valerie Allen about the Godwin loss.
The Chargers rebounded in the third-place game with a 46-45 comeback win over Yorktown.