MCDERMOTT – Survive and advance. Taking the tournament one game at a time. These are the same themes and catch phrases teams use throughout postseason basketball, maybe first coined by former NC State head basketball coach Jim Valvano, also known as ‘Jimmy V’.
Heading into their sectional semifinal with Manchester, the East Tartans bought into Valvano’s testimony and did what was necessary to pull of a first round win over the Greyhounds, 56-48.
“I thought the first half we looked a little sluggish,” said East head coach Adam Bailey following the Tartans sectional semifinal win. “It’s the first time we ’ve actually played on the road in a few games, our last couple of games were at home. I thought that was kind of an adjustment for us.”
Early and often, it was the Kyle Flannery show. Would you believe it if you were told that Flannery scored the Tartans first 19 points of the game? He did, and did so in impressive fashion. By halftime, Flannery had 22 of East’s 26, the other four coming from Will Shope and Sean Hollon who finished with 2 a piece at the halfway point.
“He’s one of those kids that when he’s stroking the basketball, everything he throws up feels like it’s going to go in,” said Bailey on Flannery’s big night. “He kind of carried us in the first half when we didn’t have a lot of other offensive production.”
Flannery finished with a game high 30 points in the Tartans win, meaning the talented senior finished with just eight points in the second half. Luckily for Tartans fans, Shope was there to pick up some of the slack.
In the second half, Shope finished with a game high 13 second half points to help lead East to their win, putting his total by game’s end at 15.
“He’s a senior, four year starter, he’s been through the battles. He’s a mentally tough kid, going to put the bad half behind him, and that’s what we expect of him. He’s a good player, and for us that’s what we expect him to do.”
In addition to his two first half points, Hollon by game’s end finished with seven points and three rebounds and was crucial to the Tartans win in more ways than one.
“I thought Sean Hollon came up huge for us off the bench. He’s got so much energy, his motor is at full go as soon as he comes into the game, and I thought he did great coming in off the bench for us.”
They say it’s hard to beat a team twice, let alone three times in one season. But for the East Tartans to take down the number one seeded New Boston Tigers in their upcoming sectional final, it’ll take their best game.
In their two games this season in SOC I play, New Boston has won both by a combined margin of 33.5 points, including the most recent coming on January 18th matchup being a 106-57 result in favor of the Tigers.
“We’re going to watch some film, we’ve played them twice, so we’ve got two games of film on them. We’ll try to limit what they do well and try to take advantage of the things we do well. It’s no secret that they beat the tar our of us at New Boston, and for us to win it’s going to take our best game. That’s the goal going into next Tuesday is to give it our best shot. Whatever happens, happens. They’re obviously a very good team with some very good players. We’ll show up and do what we have to do, and let the dominoes fall where they may.”
New Boston and East will battle in their Division IV sectional final on Tuesday at Northwest at 6:00 p.m.
East: 9-17-15-15 – 56
Manchester: 9-19-8-12 – 48
East: 19 FG, 7 3PT (Flannery 5), 11/18 FT. Scoring: Flannery 30, Shope 15, Hollen 7, Coyle 4
Manchester: 18 FG, 3 3PT, 8/12 FT. Scoring: Scott 15, Reaves 11, Redmon 7, Calvert 4
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT