Prep Playoffs: Trojans use strong second half to eliminate Eagles
Don Corry needed his East Davidson basketball team to exercise patience in Tuesday's 2-A state regional semifinal. Bandys convinced them to play the game at their pace.
Using a relentless press that forced the Lady Golden Eagles into an uptempo contest, the second-seeded Trojans kept their perfect season alive, running away with a 62-42 win that puts them into Saturday's regional final with Franklin. East saw its season end in UNC Greensboro's Fleming Gym for a second straight year.
“Our kids fought hard and I told them to be proud of the season they had,” said Corry. “I was pleased with the year.”
He had to of been extremely pleased with how the first half was going. Even with star center Bayley Plummer picking up two first quarter fouls, the Eagles were hanging with the Trojans who average 82 points per night. Bandys had a five-point lead 10 seconds into the second period, but EDHS strung together a nice 11-2 run to hold its largest lead of the night at four.
Rarely down in a game all season, the Trojans were prepared in dealing with the challenge being presented. Sarah Goble sank a short jumper and Rachel Hendershot splashed in a 3-pointer to put the Trojans ahead for good. The burst continued with Hendershot nailing another 3 from the same spot. By halftime, Bandys had themselves a 30-24 lead.
“Even though we hadn't been in that situation before, we knew we just had to kind of settle down,” said Goble. “Get it back together, take a timeout, or just calm down and get back into it.”
Baskets were traded to start the third quarter as the tempo began to creep in favor of the Trojans. Though the East backcourt had handled the pressure well, once the press was beaten, East would rush in for a shot instead of backing it out and running the offense. That played right into the hands of the Trojans.
Haleigh Lackey hit a layup and Madi Story followed with a 3-pointer. A runner in the lane by Antaijah Easter had Corry calling for time. It only put a temporary pause on the sudden surge. Bandys continued to increase its lead, posting a 58-34 score in the fourth quarter with 4:30 to play. Plummer managed to stay in the game and produced 18 points with 13 rebounds, but Lori Morgan was the only Eagle to join her in double figures and the combined effort was not near enough to hang with the Trojans.
“I thought we did a pretty good first half of not getting into a running game with them,” said Corry. “I kept telling them we cannot run with them and to be patient. Bandys can get it up and down the floor and they did that. We tried to go with them and were not patient. We just tried to do something we shouldn't.”
Bandys coach Kyle Moretz knew his team would be fine if they stuck to the same game plan they have had all season.
“I told our team defensive intensity was going to win the game,” Moretz said. “Trying to turn them over and get down the court as quick as we can. I felt like if we did that for four quarters, I didn't feel like they could run with us. They played us tight for the first two and then we were able to open it up a little bit.”
Lackey led the 30-0 Trojans with 17 points. Goble and Story each added 14 points. East shot just 29.6 percent from the field, while Bandys scored at least 15 points in each quarter.