With 2 1/2 minutes remaining in what would turn out to be a Frenchtown 81-74 victory over Loyola Sacred Heart on Friday night, Bronc John Chapman drove to the basket from the top of the 3-point arc before giving the Rams’ defense a lesson in respecting his all-around ability.
Chapman had 28 points at that moment and everyone in the key closed in on the senior guard to keep him from reaching an even 30. Instead, Chapman took a hard step to his left, turned his body squarely to face his teammates on the Frenchtown bench and tucked a nifty pass under his right elbow to Bridger Truett beneath the basket.
Truett’s easy lay-in gave Chapman nine assists for the night, nearly a double-double when coupled with his eventual 33 points.
“My scoring definitely opens up other players, because (the defense) is watching what I do,” Chapman said. “We get other players under the basket, I can see ’em and it really just opens things up so I can make the pass.”
With Friday’s game now on his season scoring sheet, Chapman leads all Class A boys in points per game by the slimmest of margins. The 6-foot-2 baller is putting up 24.83 points per game and has 149 total points in six games.
Havre’s Dane Warp averages 24. 66 per game and has score exactly one point less in six contests this season to round out the top two.
“I feel that he is the best player in the state, I do,” Frenchtown coach Michael Botsford said of his scoring machine following the Loyola victory. “The things that he’s been able to do over the summer to improve. … People used to think he’s just a scorer.
“Up at Whitefish (on Jan. 4), he had eight deflections, he had nine rebounds and 20 points. He is a complete player.”
Just to round things out, Chapman grabbed five rebounds and a pair of steals against the Rams on Friday. But most of those didn’t have the same flare that a no-look dime tends to produce.