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Chantilly Wins 67-53 Over Rival Westfield

By Rusty Payne

The Chantilly-Westfield rivalry is one of the most bitter in Northern Virginia and its basketball games have produced some classics over the 13-year history of their duels. Friday night's raucous atmosphere at Chantilly did not disappoint. The Chargers broke out with 47 second half points, including 24 in a dominant fourth quarter which began tied, to claim a 67-53 win in the Concorde District opener for both teams.

Brian Sydnor led the Chargers with 21 points and DeAndre Harris dropped 18 for the winners, who moved to 11-1 on the season. Westfield was led by Tre'Von Walton's 18 points, while leading scorer C.J. Hill was held to just 11 points and was often frustrated by an active Charger defense, led by Chantilly's defensive lockdown artist Sean Huelskamp. The Bulldogs fell to 6-6.

"The was a huge victory for our team and a great atmosphere with our fans and the rivalry," said Sydnor, who upped his scoring average to 19.2 points per game. "The fans were great and our bench was great tonight." He was referring to Charger reserves such as Mark Anstoos, Dylan Madawo, and Brent Shaffer who provided spark off the bench.

Chantilly head coach Jim Smith liked what he saw.

"It's always great to win a game against Westfield, which is a really good team and obviously a great rivalry," Smith said after his 412th career win in 26 seasons as a head coach and 22nd at Chantilly. "We struggled shooting the ball in the first half, but we knocked down some shots in the third quarter and really picked up our defense in the fourth quarter and allowed us to build a lead."

The Chargers struggled shooting in the first half, and trailed 24-20 at the break. Thanks to Tyler Femi's 8 first half points, Chantilly was able to keep Westfield from a bigger lead behind Walton's shooting and Hill's slashing ability.  The Chargers heated up in the third quarter, thanks to three 3-pointers from Sydnor.

The fourth quarter belonged to Harris. He hit 2 3-pointers in the final stanza, but also gashed the Westfield defense off the dribble with penetration after switching to point guard in a spread offense when Westfield was forced to play man-to-man defense late.

"We knew our shots would start falling at some point and we really got after it on defense in the fourth quarter," Harris said.

Femi finished with 13 points and Trey Coates had 8 for Chantilly. Coates also continued his strong season on the glass, leading the Chargers in rebounding. Femi also played arguably his best game, quarterbacking the Chargers in key stretches, forcing turnovers defensively, and leading an effective transition game as well.

While it was a big win for Chantilly, Smith knows how life is in the Concorde District.

"Every game is a war because there are so many good teams in our district," Smith said.

It is also an unpredictable district. Just a few miles away at the same time, Oakton was busy upsetting Herndon by 10 points.

Let the madness begin.

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