An aggressive first quarter on both ends of the floor gave the Titans a lead they never would relinquish, but it was their patience and teamwork in the fourth quarter that helped T.C. Williams lock down a 59-51 road win over Chantilly on Tuesday night.
"It was good that we did start with high intensity so we did get a couple easy buckets at the beginning," Titans coach Julian King said. "As any good team does, [Chantilly] settled down and got some stops and it was a slugfest the rest of the way out."
Senior forward Jamal Pullen scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the first quarter, where the Titans jumped out to a 20-14 lead that quieted the Chargers' crowd.
"It gave us a lot a lot of energy," Pullen said. "We wanted to come out and throw the first punch."
The Chargers, who were playing without injured 7-foot senior John Manning, still used their size to chip away at the Titans by relying on the interior play of 6-7 senior Jake Wiegand.
Wiegand scored 11 of his 20 points in the second half, including the first four points of the fourth quarter to bring the Chargers within one point at 42-41.
"We had the same game plan, the only difference was defensively we had to adjust because they became faster," King said. "With [Manning], they are a little more methodical."
A three-point play by senior Tyler Driver pushed the Titans' lead back to 45-41.
The Chargers made one last run as junior Brady Caslavka's second 3-pointer of the period cut the lead to 48-47.
Again the Titans would respond, as junior forward T.J. Huggins used his quickness to get by slower defenders on two consecutive possessions. Huggins produced a five-point run by himself, stretching the Titans' lead to a comfortable 53-47 with just a few minutes to play.
"I try to use my speed to get around them," said Huggins, who finished with 13 points. "We were trying to draw fouls and get to the line."
The Titans improved to 8-0 with the victory, but King knows there is still room for improvement. He doesn't plan on letting his team get comfortable with any increased attention. Entering Tuesday night, the Titans were ranked No. 1 in Patch's Northern Region rankings. The Chargers were ranked No. 2.
"We have to keep working. We have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve on," King said. "As many of the things we did well tonight, there were things we have been working on every day that we lost focus on so now we stay on them, and we don't let them off the hook."
The Titans return to the court Friday night when they travel to face Patriot District rival Lake Braddock at 7:30 p.m.