YOU NEVER KNOW what the camera will find.
Yesterday, after Archbishop Ryan's Austin Chabot was asked to hold a postgame pose, his smile revealed a black mouthpiece styled with painted-on white fangs.
Usually, the 6-6 junior forward plays with unencumbered chompers. However, last week's gruesome injury made that impossible.
"When we played Washington on Friday, a kid threw an elbow and my tooth went through my lip, right here," Chabot said, lifting his right upper lip to reveal a gnarled gash.
Stitches weren't required, but the blood, Chabot said, gushed for about 5 minutes and then leaked throughout (it happened in the second quarter; Ryan lost, 52-51).
With his pearly whites protected against host Penn Charter yesterday, a more physical Chabot led the Raiders to a 45-34 victory with 13 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Krewstown resident, who was mainly just a perimeter shooter last season, didn't choose the design, but he's glad his father James, who played at Frankford (1986), did.
"I mean, it helps me a little bit," Chabot said. "It kind of puts me in the mindset of a beast, you know? Be the predator, not the prey."
The only thing preyed upon yesterday was good, free-flowing basketball, as both teams halved 42 fouls and combined to shoot 2-for-24 from three (Ryan was 1-for-10; PC was 1-for-14).
During one fourth-quarter stretch with back-to-back-to-back foul calls, a Quakers coach could be heard saying, "This is the most boring game. We can't even go up and down!"
That's not to say the whistles weren't warranted. Physical play by both sides garnered a few well-earned infractions. The difference was that Ryan capitalized (20-for-25 from the line) and Penn Charter did not (13-for-33).
The Quakers did rally from a 22-17 deficit at intermission to square things at 26 to end the third, but empty offensive trips proved costly.
"It was a big win for us, learning how to win in foul trouble," Chabot said. "Coming down the stretch, we were both in foul trouble and you have to make foul shots down the stretch. It is aggravating not getting the call every time, but you have to play through that and play tough."
In fact, the Raiders made it rain singles in the fourth quarter, connecting on 17 of 20 attempts at the foul line. Their lone field goal in the frame was a putback layup by junior Fred Killian (eight points, six rebounds) with about a minute left.
Junior guard Austin Slawter led Ryan (4-1) with 14 points and two steals. Sophomore wing Izaiah Brockington added two blocks.
For the Quakers (2-5), senior guard Julian Johnson had 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting, while seniors Pat McCain and Eric Stahlheber added six rebounds apiece.
However, Chabot, who said he was a one-dimensional shooter last season, used aggressiveness to earn and hit 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth.
"If I look at myself from this year to last year, it's a major change," he said. "I'm taking it to the rim and getting fouled, whereas last year I was just a shooter . . . it's a big difference and I'm really proud of myself."
Hearing negative chatter last season from friends around the Catholic League was all the prodding he needed.
"People were like, 'Oh, you're only a shooter, that's all you can do and there's nothing else you're good for,'T" he said. "So, all offseason I wanted to prove them wrong and prove myself because I know I can do all those things, and now they know that I can."