Prep Hoops: Eagles soar into second place after beating THS
Time may be running out to catch Central Davidson in the Central Carolina Conference standings, but East Davidson is making a thrilling push for second.
Having started the conference season 0-3 and probably written off by many, the Golden Eagles continue their upward climb, currently in a tie for second heading into last night’s slate of games. East has won four straight including Tuesday’s comfortable 65-52 win over Thomasville. Taylor Booze had 22 points and Matthew Johnson 14.
“My guys are just so focused on what they are doing and relaxed,” said EDHS coach Matt Jacobs. “At some point we got in this mode and I hope we can stay in it.”
In the girls game, the Lady Bulldogs remained in a three-way tie for first by squeaking out a 56-51 victory. Despite being saddled with foul trouble for much of the night, THS overcame it all with freshman Timber Tate giving them a huge boost in scoring 24 points to go with 10 rebounds. Joslyn Spires scored 22 points before fouling out in the final minute.
“We are going to have games like this sometimes and I am proud of the way they fought through it,” said Brandon Staton, coach of the Lady Bulldogs.
East established control right from the tip and never relinquished the lead, though THS challenged them on two occasions. Booze was a factor at the onset, combining with Adam Davis to score the first 13 East points as they led 13-3.
Thomasville came back in the second quarter getting quality minutes from Cedric Green off the bench. The athletic guard scored seven points in the quarter to dwindle the lead to three. An 8-0 run by the Eagles made it 35-24 at the half, but it could have been much worse for the Bulldogs. East left 11 points at the line going 13-for-24 in the first half.
East increased its lead to 13, before the Bulldogs made one last rally. Desmond Wilson drained a 3 then Malik Johnson scored on the break. B.J. McElveen knocked down a jumper off a turnover then Johnson splashed in a deep trey. Suddenly a game again at 37-34, the Eagles spread their wings and took off.
Austin Miller answered the Johnson 3-pointer and East scored the final 11 points of the third quarter.
The Eagles made free throws down the stretch to maintain a safe lead. They wound up 23-of-36 at the line. THS shot only 17 free throws.
“The last three games we have been right at 80 percent at the line,” said Jacobs. “Tonight we did not make as many, but we did get there enough that we could afford to miss some.”
Malik Johnson got 14 points and Green 12 for the 6-12, 2-5 Bulldogs. East moves to 6-14 overall.
The more the whistle blew, the stronger Timber Tate seemed to get for the Lady ‘Dogs. With three of Thomasville’s top players in significant foul trouble, the frosh with a soft touch showed she can be a No. 1 option for the team if needed.
In the first half alone, Christina Coleman had four fouls, with Spires and Jashana Thomas having three each. Still, the Bulldogs (12-5, 5-2) held a 30-24 lead at intermission, mainly due to Tate’s 12 points. Speaking of 12, that is how many points EDHS had at the charity stripe in the second quarter, with the only other points coming on Miranda Cumpton’s 3-pointer with eight seconds to go.
Tate began the second half by scoring four additional points on a putback and layup off the drive, extending the lead to 10. Jennifer Welborn kept the Eagles around with 18 points on the night including her jumper from the free throw line that reduced the lead to four with two minutes left in the game.
East, 3-4 in the CCC, had momentum at that point with Thomas and Coleman already disqualified from the contest. Spires and Tate had four each, and were needed down the stretch.
Spires hit both shots in a one-and-one situation. She returned to the stripe again, missing both attempts, but Michaela Williams got the rebound and put the ball back in the hoop. Tate later added two big free throws to seal the win.