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Advance tags 73-57 loss on Chaffee
Advance senior Chris Welch, who has been playing basketball since the third grade, wasn't a bit modest when describing his performance Tuesday night against Chaffee.
"This was the biggest game I've ever had," the 6-foot-3 post player said with a smile.
Welch, coming off the bench, poured in 20 points for the first time in his career, including eight points in the second quarter and six in the third, to help the Hornets beat the Red Devils 73-57 at home. Advance improved to 4-7; Chaffee fell to 4-6.
"This is a very big win," Welch said. "This is one of the better teams in our district. We beat them once, and we knew they were going to be hungry to come out and beat us tonight. It's just a big win for everybody around here."
Welch has had an interesting season thus far.
He began this winter as a starter but was moved to the bench in late December. The switch occurred not only because he hurt his ankle -- which sidelined him for four practices -- but also because he said Advance coach Joe Shoemaker was not pleased with his effort.
"I hurt my ankle right before Christmas and also coach said I wasn't going hard enough in practice and games so he's been sitting me down and not starting me," said Welch, who has begun to increase his effort to prove his place on the team. "I [now] work as hard as I can every minute in practice and in games."
The senior, who has the body of a football defensive lineman, said after not receiving many minutes in the Hornets' first two games of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament, he spoke with his coach, who told him what he needed to do to improve his work ethic and return to his regular role on the court.
He said he has not become frustrated or discouraged playing off the bench.
"Last year I came off the bench so it doesn't bother me," he said. "Whatever I can do to help the team."
Welch certainly helped his team Tuesday.
With the Hornets and Red Devils tied 17-17 entering the second quarter, Welch turned up his game a notch. And so did his teammates.
The senior scored four field goals in the period to help his team to a 38-32 halftime advantage.
"He's been starting to work a little bit harder," senior Nate Middleton said of Welch. "I'm glad he's been coming back around. [Tonight] was awesome. We'd love to have that every game. It's nice having a player come off the bench and score 20. Every team would like that."
Leading by six points entering the third quarter, the Hornets went on a 6-0 run in the first 59 seconds which included baskets by Cody Mitchell, Middleton and Cody VanGennip to take a 44-32 lead.
Welch helped the Hornets maintain a safe lead for the rest of the period and the game.
"He played pretty good and did what he needed to do to get the job done," said Chaffee senior Josh Steger, who once lived in Advance and was friends with Welch in the third grade. Steger guarded Welch at times Tuesday and the two shared a few laughs together on the court.
Steger added: "None of us could stop him so he did pretty good. I was just telling him he got a lot bigger since last time [I talked] to him in third grade."
ADVANCE 73, CHAFFEE 57
Chaffee (57) -- Trenton Horman 4, Taimen Taylor 7, Jerrod Steger 13, Gabe Seabaugh 2, Adam Horton 13, Andy Hendrix 14, Zach Wachter 4. FG 24, FT 4-8, F 16 (3-pointers: Taylor 1, J. Steger 1, Horton 3. Fouled out: none)
Advance (73) -- Nate Middleton 10, David VanGennip 11, Cody VanGennip 8, Blake Seabaugh 4, Jacob Bond 12, Cody Mitchell 8, Chris Welch 20. FG 32, FT 8-13, F 11 (3-pointers: Middleton 1, Fouled out: none)