ALBIA – The night started with recognition of Blake Chance for joining the coveted Albia boys basketball 1,000-point club.
It ended with Chance and the Blue Demons celebrating a return to the top of the South Central Conference.
The career 1,000-point scorer added 22 points on Friday as Blake Chance led Albia to an important 71-56 win over Knoxville in a battle of the top two teams in the SCC standings.
"I think we had a good game plan," commented Blue Demon head coach Kevin Archer.
Apparently, Coach Archer was right. Albia put 25 points on the board during the second quarter of play in route to moving into first place in the conference, taking over the top spot from the Panthers on the same floor where Albia beat Knoxville last year to clinch the outright SCC boys basketball title.
Knoxville, the SCC leader entering play, hit a 3-pointer 15 seconds into the game to take their only lead of the night. Blake Chance went to work hitting a jumper, a 3-pointer from 24 feet, and a 3-pointer deep from the right wing to the Blue Demons up 8-3.
Trey Griffin added a 3-pointer later in the quarter, helping Albia hold on to a 13-10 lead after eight minutes.
"We shot the ball well tonight," assessed Archer of the win.
Albia took control of the contest during the second period of play, outscoring Knoxville 25-13. The Blue Demons hit 9 of 10 shots from the charity stripe, including seven of eight by Blake Chance.
Drew Chance, Blake's younger brother, followed a 26-point effort in a non-conference overtime win at Washington on Tuesday by scoring 15 points on Friday including 10 in the second quarter with four jump shots and a layup. Albia headed to the locker room at half with a 38-23 lead.
The Blue Demons opened the third frame with three consecutive 3-pointers. Nathaniel Wynn, Brayden Messamaker and Blake Chance each contributed to the trifecta.
Knoxville transitioned into man-to-man defense, but it did little to stop the offensive potency of the Blue Demons. The home team didn't let up in the final frame, scoring 17 points and hitting nine of twelve free-throw attempts.
"We held the ball a little too long on occasion, but we took care of the ball and had minimal turnovers," noted Archer.
Besides 37 combined points from the Chance brothers, the balanced scoring attack of the Blue Demons included Messamaker with 13 points and Wynn with 11.
Drew Chance led the way to a 59-49 non-conference win for the Blue Demons on Saturday at Pleasantville with 23 points and seven rebounds. Messamaker added 19 points, sinking six shots from 3-point range, as Albia dominated in the third quarter outscoring the Trojans 25-12.
Albia (6-1, 3-0 SCC) will look to protect their position alone atop the conference at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on Tuesday.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Knoxville 10 13 16 17 56
Albia 13 25 16 17 71