After getting off to a disappointing 0-2 start to the 2019-20 season, the Eastern Alamance men’s basketball team opened play in the EAHS Holiday Hoopla Tournament inside Tal Jobe Gymnasium Thursday evening with a quarterfinal matchup against Bartlett Yancey. The Eagles were itching to get in the win column after dropping a pair of narrow losses at home to Northeast Guilford and on the road at Person in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday.
The teams played close early on in an up-tempo, sometimes sloppy encounter. Bartlett Yancey got eight early points from guard Khalil Clay as the visiting Buccaneers took a 9-7 lead. The Eagles got a 3-pointer from Kasen McCawley to take a 12-10 lead in the closing seconds of the opening quarter, but the Bucs countered with a 3-pointer from Trevares Womack to take a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
After the teams traded baskets in the opening 30 seconds of the second period, Eastern continued to get its long-range game going, with Evan Mann and Camden Gerlach burying 3-pointers to give the Eagles a 21-15 advantage with 5:05 to play before halftime.
Bartlett Yancey briefly crept within 23-20 on an offensive rebound putback and then a basket by Phayzuan Edmonds, but EA reeled off four straight points, taking a 27-20 lead on a mid-range jumper by Nick Blackwell. As they did at the end of the first quarter, the Bucs got a 3-pointer as the second quarter clock wound down - this one from Omari Pinnix - to pull within 28-23 at halftime.
In the second half, Bartlett Yancey made an adjustment by switching to a zone defense, which threw off the Eagles for a bit. The Bucs scored the first four points of the second half before Blackwell scored, but Bartlett Yancey continued to rally. A tough shot over the middle by Clay and an offensive rebound and putback by Jacob Scales following a missed free throw tied the game, 33-33, at the 3:07 mark of the third period.
Ja’Lil Settle put the Eagles back into the lead 35-33, as the teams began trading buckets. A tough runner by Clay tied it, 35-35, but Settle came through again, nailing a 3-pointer. Another basket by Clay cut the EAHS lead to 38-37, but then a steal and slam dunk by Bartlett Yancey’s Ricky Lipscomb gave the Bucs their first lead of the second half - 39-38 with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Moments later, Clay tipped in a missed shot by Scales for a 41-38 lead for the Bucs, which compelled EAHS head coach Jay McPherson to call a timeout. Pulling the entire lineup for five new players, the Eagles pulled within 41-40 before Bartlett Yancey scored the final three points of the period to take a 44-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles quickly assumed the momentum as the final period began, as the home squad forced a turnover following a basket. Mann picked off a pass for a steal and threw ahead to Alik Lewis, who converted a layup to make the score 44-44. EAHS then drew a charge, leading up to a driving bucket by Mann, who came off a screen and dropped the ball in for a 46-44 Eastern edge.
EAHS continued its defensive surge, forcing a jump ball to reclaim possession, but they were unable to build on the lead. Bartlett Yancey tied the score 46-46 on a pass from Pinnix to Scales, and then Edmonds drew a foul for the Bucs. Making both free throws, Edmonds gave BY a 48-46 lead with 3:40 left in regulation.
The Eagles kept it close, with Lewis grabbing an offensive rebound of his own miss and converting to tie the score again at 48-48. An excellent defensive stop by the Eagles led to a transition pass from Gerlach to Lewis, making the score 50-48 with under three minutes to go. Both teams missed some scoring opportunities until Lipscomb grabbed an offensive board for the Bucs and put it in to tie the game at 50-50 at the 2:05 mark.
Following an Eagles miss, Edmonds came through yet again for BY, running the lane for a score that gave the Bucs a 52-50 edge with under two minutes on the clock. The Eagles got a chance to potentially take the lead on a baseline drive by Mann, but Mann was called for charging, giving the ball back to the Bucs with 1:34 on the clock. Clay found Miles Jefferson under the basket for a score to give BY a 54-50 lead, but the Eagles got a critical 3-pointer by Gerlach, which cut the Bucs lead to 54-53 with 1:17 to go.
After taking a 56-53 lead, the Bucs had a chance to wrap the game up in the final minute of regulation from the free throw line. But Clay missed both ends of a double bonus set of free throws, and a brilliant pass from Lewis around the backs of multiple BY defenders to Blackwell led to a basket and a 56-56 tie.
Bartlett Yancey raced down quickly after Blackwell’s score and took a 58-56 lead, but a jumper by Lewis tied the game 58-58 in the final ten seconds, forcing overtime.
In the 4-minute overtime session, Lipscomb gave the Bucs a 60-58 edge with a score in the lane at the 3:25 mark. After Eastern was called for traveling, a free throw gave BY a three-point advantage, 61-58. EAHS missed multiple opportunities to tie the game from beyond the arc, but Decimus Lewis was sent to the free throw line for the Eagles. Lewis made one of two shots.
Bartlett Yancey subsequently turned the ball over, but the Eagles couldn’t capitalize on a shot to tie or take the lead. The Bucs managed to take a 63-59 lead on a nice pass from Edmonds to Clay, and held off the Eagles down the stretch. EAHS was forced to foul at the 1:16 mark, and Edmonds made both for a six-point BY lead (65-59).
Eastern would get as close as 66-62 in the final 45 seconds, but a free throw and two final baskets in the closing moments by Lipscomb sealed the deal for Bartlett Yancey, 71-62. The win, which advanced BY to the tournament semifinals against Durham Riverside, improved to 5-5, while Eastern fell to 0-3 with the loss. The setback dropped EAHS into the consolation round, and a matchup with Cummings on Friday.