The Park Center Pirates (2-0) defeated the DeLaSalle Islanders 102-71 on Thursday night at DeLaSalle High School.
It was an aggressive start to the game for both squads as each teams traded fouls for the first three minutes of the game. It was Park Center though who executed its free throws early to jump to a 17-10 lead.
The Pirates did not trail after taking the lead, and they were led by Casmir "Cash" Chavis, who tallied 14 points in the first half alone. Fellow junior Jackson Fowlkes added nine points for the Pirates as they took a big lead into halftime 52-33
It was more of the same in the second half. The Islanders (0-1) had no answer for the defending Class 4A state champions who immediately got off to a 10-2 run to suck the air out of the Islander faithful. Park Center did not let its foot off the gas as it went on to coast to a 102-71 victory.
Here are three observations from the game.
After a 2021 season spent mostly coming off the bench for the Pirates, Chavis is now a starter, and he has made the most of it so far this season, especially tonight. In the biggest game of his young career, the junior tallied 33 points with 19 of those points coming in the second half.
It wasn't just his scoring, though. He was a major presence on the defensive end, swatting away multiple shots and getting tough steals which lead to easy Park Center buckets in transition. Chavis also protected the ball and limited the turnovers, which turned out to be the difference in the end.
Help from the big men
Coming into the season Park Center coach James Ware needed to find a defensive anchor down low to set the tone for his squad, and senior JJ Ware just might be that anchor.
Wade made his presence known early with a big block on an Islander player who mistakenly went after the 6-foot-5 big man. Ware played well on the offensive side of the ball as well as with 15 points and splashing a couple threes along with it. M
The offensive rebounds he grabbed from helpless DeLaSalle defenders was the most important part of Ware's game. Ware extended multiple possessions for the Pirates, which ended in Park Center threes, and that was a real gut punch to the Islanders.
It wasn't just Ware getting it done down low though. Senior Kaden Cook had his share of offensive rebounds. Those resulted in more extended possession for the Pirates. Cook finished with six points on the day.
Whitlock's 27 points not enough
Heading into the season, the star player on DelaSalle was no secret. It was of course Lehigh commit Nasir Whitlock. It was a strong showing for the senior who scored 27 points on the day, which led all Islanders scorers.
Whitlock had a 9-0 run on his own in the first half to cut the Park Center lead to eight, which was as close as the Islanders got. Whitlock’s aggressiveness to the cup left Pirate defenders no choice but to foul once he got to the rim.