Chapel Hill playoff victory result of a turnaround, culture change


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A year ago, the Chapel Hill Bulldogs boys basketball team endured a pretty rough season.

With a lot of key players lost due to injury, C-Hill was 3-23 overall. Tuesday night, that same program won a playoff game.

They also did it in thrilling fashion.

The Dogs took down Pleasant Grove 66-to-63 in overtime for their first postseason win in three years, and only their second in the last eight years.

Under first-year head coach, and Bulldog alum Akimba Johnson, the mentality has shifted at Chapel Hill.

At 23-9 on the season, Johnson adds that the conditioning program they used in the off-season, thanks in part to head football coach and athletics director Jeff Riordan (also in his first full school year at Chapel Hill) , had them ready for what they faced Tuesday in Marshall.

Johnson was the head boys basketball coach at Elysian Fields the last two years.

“Once we got to overtime, we just felt like they were tired. And we were just getting started. We were ready to go two more overtimes if we had to. And that just shows the grit and the determination of these guys back here. And they put in that work, and they deserve all that credit. As long as you trust the process and you stay with it, with the good and the bad, man this can happen, and man hopefully we can keep it going Friday,” said Johnson.

“It boosted our confidence very well. Cuz, everybody expecting us to lose that game. We came out, we were the only people expecting us to win that game. So we just came out thinking we were gonna win this game and we won it,” said freshman guard Tyson Berry.

“We grown a lot. It just shows through our character. You know, Coach Johnson was teaching us not to stay to low, not to stay to high, just stay in the middle and be humble,” said senior guard K.J. Ford.

The Bulldogs now prepare to face Mabank in the Class 4A area round at 7:00 p.m. Friday in Lindale.

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