Kimberly Blough 6:28 p.m., March 9
No. 10 Francis Parker knocks off No. 8 Army-Navy in defensive struggle
LINDA VISTA – In a Coastal South League game where points were at a premium, No. 10 Francis Parker scored a season-low 38 points and still beat No. 8 Army-Navy. The Lancers prevailed 38-29 on Wednesday in a defensive slugfest.
“This win means a lot, especially mentally just to know that we are 2-0 in league,” said Francis Parker guard Dalante Dunklin. “We need to come back out and play as hard as we have been.”
Leading 18-16 at halftime on a Dunklin jumper before the buzzer, Francis Parker (12-6, 2-0 Coastal South) stymied Army-Navy in the second half with a suffocating zone defense. The Lancers opened the second half with a 7-2 run and held the Warriors scoreless for a five-minute stretch in the third quarter.
“Offensively they are a pretty stagnant team,” Dunklin said. “We just tried to get to the midline and stop their dribble-drive penetration and try to make them to force a shot over our closing out.”
Francis Parker led by seven at the start of the fourth quarter, and maintained that lead for the rest of the game after Army-Navy (12-4, 1-1) went scoreless in the opening three minutes of the quarter. The Warriors scored 25 points less than their season average, led by guard Devin Watson’s 12 points.
“In practice we work really hard on defense and it was good that we held them under 30 points,” Dunklin said. “One of our goals during the season is to keep our opponents under 50 points and lately we have been getting that done.”
After scoring only 11 points in the second half in a loss to No. 7 La Costa Canyon in the Elite Eight Showcase on Monday, Francis Parker struggled to find the basket for the second straight game. Forward Eric Norman, who scored 12 points, led the Lancers.
“Our offense wasn’t clicking,” Dunklin said. “We just really need to get back to practice and get our offense back to how it usually is and hitting our open shots.”
Francis Parker had trouble scoring against an Army-Navy team anchored by 7’1” sophomore center Cheikh Ndiaye, but balanced that by holding Ndiaye to a season-low five points. In addition to different zones, the Lancers guarded Ndiaye with the 6’9” Norman.
“Eric Norman really stepped up and he was really physical with him today,” Dunklin said. “We also had great help side defense, which we had been working on in practice.”
Along with Horizon, the defending Division IV section champion Francis Parker is unbeaten atop the Coastal South League. The Lancers haven’t won the competitive small school league since the 2006-07 season.
“Each year since my freshman year we had a chip on our shoulder,” Dunklin said. “We always felt we’re the best team in the league, now it’s really just time to show it.”
Francis Parker – 38 (10-8-11-9)
Norman 12, Dunklin 9, Baker 7, Polk 6, Blake 4 (starters)
Army-Navy – 29 (10-6-6-7)
Waston 12, Ndiaye 8, Greenwood 5, Mosley 4, Nowakowski 0 (starters)
Army-Navy guard Devin Watson drives inside against Francis Parker guard Coleman Baker