Watson Chapel junior Leonard Robinson has been a starter for much of the year, but recently he’s been coming off the bench more.
“I just wanted a change of pace,” Wildcats coach Matt Busch said. “I wanted to give our second unit a little more scoring power.
“You don’t really see it a lot at this level, but you see in a lot in the NBA.”
Well, Robinson showed he still has his shooting touch even when he isn’t starting.
A game-high 23 points by Robinson and 22 from teammate Xavier Young helped Chapel to a 71-56 win over a scrappy White Hall team on Tuesday night at Watson Chapel High School.
Robinson started hot and finished hot.
He hit three triples in the first quarter to help the Wildcats open up a 14-6 lead after one. Robinson scored eight points in the fourth quarter to help Chapel (18-5, 10-2 in 5A-South) seal the win.
Robinson and Chapel also got a big boost from Young, who scored 11 of his points in the fourth.
“I tell Xavier this all the time,” Busch said. “’Xavier, you have no idea how good you could be.’
“He’s got great touch, he’s long and active. He still doesn’t know where his ceiling is”
On Tuesday the Wildcats needed Young to step up, and he came through.
In the second quarter, he scored seven points as White Hall (6-15, 3-8) pulled within 24-21 by halftime.
“We were able to get stops and able to make some baskets,” Bulldogs coach Marc Stringer said of how his team got back in the game.
The third quarter, though, belonged to Chapel.
The Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 16-7 largely due to a new defensive scheme from Busch.
“After Friday, we started working on a 1-3-1 and it gave them fits early,” Busch said. “We won that quarter 16-7, and they only had two field goals — a two and a three — so it was effective.”
The three-pointer was from William Ridgell and pulled White Hall within five at 32-27. Chapel answered with an 8-1 run to close the quarter and take a 40-28 lead into the final period.
The Wildcats then began the fourth on an 8-2 run to grab its biggest lead of the night at 48-30.
Jake McNulty, who scored a team-high 13 points for White Hall, hit a pair of three-pointers in the fourth but the Bulldogs were never able to get the game back to single-digits.
“Our inability to make changes and adjustments,” Stringer said of the second-half issues. “I hate to use the term young, because we’re not young.
“But basketball-wise we’re young.”
On the other side, an experienced Chapel team is two wins away from a 5A-South Conference championship.
“After we found out Hot Springs lost to Camden(-Fairview), I told them you’re not the champions yet,” Busch said. “You have one team (White Hall) coming in here that wants to beat you more than anybody else.
“You have one team (Hope) who is fighting for their life, and you have another (Magnolia) who has a 6-foot-7 kid and is a tough matchup.”
Busch, though, reiterated that his team wants more.
“This group has never experienced a conference championship,” he said. “I’ve never experienced it.
“We want it, but we want the next one more.”