Fighting into overtime, the Eastern Eagles took the sectional championship against Notre Dame Wednesday night at Northwest High School.
Notre Dame was down two baskets with only two minutes left on the clock. Determined to grab the win, the Titans evened the score to 41-41 and only 44 seconds left in the game. The Eagles had the ball, and Notre Dame took the only chance they had, stealing the ball and running down the court heading for the net. Unfortunately for the Titans, the effort was took late. The clock ran out before they could get their shot off, and the two teams went into overtime.
Both sides of the crowd were screaming for their pick as the Titans and Eagles exchanged shots for an intense four minutes. With Eastern leading 45-43, Notre Dame stole the ball and tied the game at 45-45. The Eagles made a last attempt to end the game with only one overtime and popped off a quick shot. With less than a second remaining, Notre Dame fouled giving Eastern a free throw. The Eagles took the game 48-45. The Titans scored four points in overtime to the Eagles seven.
“We knew coming in that Notre Dame was a very good team,” Eastern Head Coach Tom Barrick stated following the game. “I though Coach Anderson had a great game plan. I thought he did a great job and had his kids ready to play.”
Barrick added that though the Eagles won the game, he did not feel they played to the best of their ability.
“We did not shoot the ball well. The shots that he was giving us, we didn’t make. He took away a lot of things that we wanted to do. A lot of credit to their coach. A lot of credit to their kids. They really battled. It was one of those games where you don’t necessarily play as well or shoot as well as what you wanted to. We’re fortunate to get out. Hopefully, we’ll have a better game next time out. That’s kinda what tournament’s about,” Barrick commented.
Eastern was to the championship win by Michael Miller with 13 points from five-two point baskets and three of three free throws and Ethan Leist with 12 points from two shots from behind the arc and three-two point baskets.
Notre Dame had three players scoring in the double digits. Isiah Johnson and Trevon Turner both added 13 points each, and Sam Kayser added 11. Johnson scored six-two point baskets and one of six free throws while Kayser scored from four-two point baskets and three of five free throws and Turner scored from one-three point basket, four-two point baskets and two of two free throws.
The Eagles have had a successful season and a long tournament run for which Barrick credits the team he was working with.
“I’m extremely pleased with our kids. I like this team,” he said. “This team has a lot of character to it. We did not play well, but they just didn’t give up. We got down in that fourth quarter and could have kind of said it wasn’t our night, but the kids didn’t do that. It’s a good bunch of kids. I enjoy being around them, and I’m glad that we get to play another week.”
Barrick added that his team has been committed since the start of the season.
“The kids just bought into what we’re trying to do,” the proud coach explained.
Easten is going to go to face off with the St. Joseph Flyers at the convo at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Ohio University in Athens. St. Jo beat southern 61-54 Wednesday night to qualify for the match up.
Notre Dame: 6-13-14-8-4-45
Notre Dame: Johnson-13, Kayser-11, Turner-13, Bazler-5, Mader-2, Sparks-1
Eastern: Evan Leist-5, Alley-4, Hale-7, Ethan Leist-12, Martin-6, Weaver-1, Miller-13
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1930 or on Twitter @nikkib45653.
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