Leesburg, Va. — The second the ball was loose, the entire gym held its breath. They knew what was going to happen. John Champe High School senior forward Tyler Savage gathered the ball and with nobody in his way, looked towards the rim: his sole target.
He leapt into the air, gliding as his lithe 6-foot-3 frame rose above the court, his arm cocking back the ball before slamming it home as the crowd oohed and aahed. It was part of a 20-point performance for Savage that led his John Champe Knights to a 61-40 win over the Woodgrove Wolverines to start out their seasons at the inaugural LoCoSports Tip-Off Tournament.
Savage’s performance, scoring from inside and outside, was heralded by his coach. It was a positive game for the senior, who talked about how hard he worked to improve his jump shot over the offseason.
“You can’t say enough about him,” first-year John Champe head coach Walter Webb said. “You know, he’s just an unbelievable athlete.”
Savage was aided greatly by his teammate Jalen Jasper, who was electric throughout the night, hitting four threes and scoring 25 points.
“My teammates freed me up. Coach always talks about space, and we spaced out which allowed me to work and get space,” Jasper said. “People drive and kick out, gives me wide open space for threes and to drive and get fouled.”
Jasper’s shots were often from deep, demonstrating the confidence he has in himself and that his coaches have in him.
“My coach, my teammates, everyone just tells me I can shoot from anywhere,” Jasper said. “I gotta believe so it can go in. I just think it’s going in every time, and I keep shooting.”
When the final quarter began, John Champe led by just six points, but an incredible defensive performance in the period where they allowed just three points allowed them to outscore Woodgrove by 15 and close the game out with emphasis.
On one play, Savage rejected a Woodgrove layup attempt with authority sending the ball out of play against the padding behind the basket. The forward finished with two blocks and three steals.
It was an impressive defensive performance for the Knights. As a team, they finished with 11 steals, and allowed a mere 40 points, including the aforementioned three points in the final frame.
For Woodgrove, senior center Brock Redman was dominant down low, finishing with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
“Brock’s a hell of a player. He’s a good, physical, long, big guy,” Savage said. ”He’s always gives me a run for my money.”
The win pushes John Champe into the LoCoSports Tip-Off Tournament championship game where they’ll play host Loudoun County – who defeated Liberty in the other semifinal – on December 6 at 7:45p.m.
“We wanted to practice this week with a 1-0 mentality,” Savage said. “Woodgrove is a hell of a team, so we’re just glad we got it done.”
John Champe Stats
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