GALLATIN The cards were in place for the Station Camp High boys basketball team to hit blackjack on Tuesday evening.
Although visiting Gallatin made it difficult for the Bison throughout the game, Station Camp emerged with the winning hand, claiming a 75-68 victory for its 21st consecutive victory to begin the season.
The Green Wave led 16-14 after one quarter and was in front for most of the second quarter before the Bison rallied to take a 36-32 lead into halftime. Station Camp junior point guard Chase Freeman scored 11 points in the second period.
“These past two weeks, I’ve been playing really well and getting extra shots,” Freeman said. “It’s really paying off in the game.”
Freeman hit all seven of his field-goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, and connected on 13 of 16 free throws to finish with a career-high 29 points.
Station Camp (21-0 overall, 7-0 in District 9-AAA) didn’t have a particularly successful shooting performance from its main shooting threats – with seniors Keaton Dotson and Sawyer Taylor combining to hit 2 of 11 3-pointers – but the Bison still managed to connect on 51 percent of their field-goal efforts (24 of 47). The Bison also hit 73 percent of their free-throw attempts (22 of 30).
Gallatin (7-11, 3-4) went on a 12-2 run in the first quarter after the Bison jumped out to a 10-4 lead following Freeman’s 3-pointer.
“They had to see that they could do the things that we had talked about,” Gallatin head coach Bobby Luna said. “Now, I believe that when the ball goes in the basket, they start to play a little harder, and that’s when you start to execute a little bit more.”
The Bison took a 32-27 lead after an 8-0 run late in the second quarter.
“We’re all experienced,” Freeman said. “We’ve all played (together) for two or three years. We know that we’ve just got to calm down, and we’ll be fine.”
Gallatin tied the game at 59 with 4:09 remaining when junior Dezmond Chambers hit a 3-pointer, but Station Camp answered with a 9-1 run to take a 68-59 lead on Taylor’s second 3-pointer of the game.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that we played over our heads,” Luna said. “We played well. Station Camp came to play too. If anybody says that Station Camp played down to us, that’s bull. They played as good as they can play, and we played well. It was a good high-school basketball game with two teams that were executing.”
Freeman hit 5 of 6 free throws over the final 25 seconds to help the Bison seal the victory.
“Everybody’s really coming to play because we’re undefeated, and they want to beat us,” Freeman said.
Sophomore guard Collin Minor hit five of Gallatin’s 10 3-pointers and finished as the team’s leading scorer with 15 points.
“Our guys did not come in here thinking they were going to get beat,” Luna said. “Now, we might be crazy, when you look at one team on one end that might look like a middle-school team and one that looks like JUCO (junior college), I see the difference physically. But there’s a lot of things that go into it.”
Station Camp head coach Seth Massey added, “I know that Gallatin played a good game. Hats off to them. Bobby’s got them playing hard, and they’re competing. It was an exciting game for a fan to watch.”
The Bison won their fourth consecutive district contest by nine points or less.
“We know that for us to win in this league, you have to bring it every night,” Massey said. “Whatever mistakes we made tonight, Gallatin had a lot to do with that.”
In addition to 21 consecutive victories this season, Station Camp has won 29 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season. Gallatin was the last team to defeat Station Camp in regular-season play, handing the Bison a 45-44 loss on Jan. 13, 2015.
The two teams meet again at Gallatin on Feb. 12.
Gallatin hosts Portland on Friday, while Station Camp hosts Beech.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
GALLATIN (68) – Collin Minor 15, Mark Brummett 11, Zyun Mason 11, Jordan Mason 10, Nigel Black 8, Marlon Mitchell 6, Dezmond Chambers 5, Zool Kueth 2.
STATION CAMP (75) – Chase Freeman 29, Keaton Dotson 12, Yalen Reed 9, Kody Eden 8, Sawyer Taylor 6, Hayden Baldwin 4, Thomas Zazzaro 4, Peyton Anderson 3.
Half: 36-32, Station Camp. Three-point goals: Gallatin 10 (Minor 5, Black 2, Brummett 1, Chambers 1, Z. Mason 1), Station Camp 5 (Freeman 2, Taylor 2, Anderson 1). Records: Gallatin 7-11 overall, 3-4 in District 9-AAA, Station Camp 21-0, 7-0.