Chester’s David Estacio leaps ahead of his competition to make a layup during the Volcanoes win over University Prep on Feb. 8. Estacio made seven three-pointers during the game, including a half-court shot at the end of the third quarter. Photo by James Wilson
The Chester boys basketball team is on top of its game right now. The team just finished off University Prep on Feb. 8 and Redding Christian on Feb. 5 to complete a seven-game winning streak.
To boot, the Volcanoes’ win against Redding Christian propelled them to the top of Northern Section Division-VI.
The 54-42 win over University Prep along with the 64-46 victory over Redding Christian improved Chester’s record to 9-2 in league and 20-5 overall. Chester shares the number one seed with Redding Christian who also stands 20-5.
“Our goal from the beginning was to win the section this year,” said Chester’s coach Joe Gilmour. “Chester hasn’t won a championship since 1984. We are poised and ready to go to win that section.”
Earlier in the season both University Prep and Redding Christian beat the Volcanoes, making last week’s victories that much sweeter.
Chester’s losses this season have all been extremely close games. The Volcanoes lost to Lassen by two, Redding Christian by five, Trinity by four and Weed by two. Chester’s earlier loss to Liberty Christian was the only hard-hitting one of the season; a loss by 22 points.
The first quarter of Chester’s game against University Prep was low scoring. University Prep outscored the Volcanoes 8-4. This was the lowest scoring quarter of Chester’s season. Defensively both teams were active, but too many shots were missed.
“We just couldn’t get a shot in,” said Gilmour. “It was just one of those game. We normally average 15-20 points per quarter.”
University Prep had its best luck around the free throw line. So, in the second quarter, Chester’s coach Joe Gilmour switched the Volcanoes’ defense to a 1-3-1 trap. The extra coverage paid off and University Prep was forced to take riskier shots.
“We were able to rebound a lot more, get more turnovers and more possessions,” said Gilmour. “Once we were able to take more shots we just started building up the points. That made a huge difference for us.”
Chester started focusing on shooting from afar, and bustled out 20 points in the second quarter. The teams went into half time with the Volcanoes up 24-16.
Once Chester got its momentum they kept it. The team continued concentrating on its long shots and kept building points.
David Estacio made seven three-pointers alone. Estacio’s most exciting three-pointer came in the form of a half court shot at the third quarter buzzer.
Chester’s game against Redding Christian was another solid victory for the Volcanoes. The Vols came out hot to quickly take a 16-7 lead. Chester added 11 more points in the second quarter to lead 27-22 at the half.
“We went in there with a good game plan,” explained Gilmour. “We knew how we were going to defend them and were able to play pretty tough.”
The second half was a pure Volcano eruption. Chester dominated Redding Christian with 37 more points compared to the Lions’ 24. Volcanoe Wyatt Durkin was the team’s most valuable player. Durkin scored 18 points, nabbed 16 rebounds and made six blocks.
“We played a great game,” said Gilmour. Just to show, we had 22 turnovers in the game and we still won by 18. Our defense was really in the zone that game.”
Chester’s winning streak cemented its position in the playoffs and is now set to have all its playoff games at home.