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Posted: November 25, 2013 8:50 p.m.

Eagles survive Mundy's Mill

Matt Smith/

Eastside guard Treyvon Francis blows by Mundy Mill's Deonte Griffin on his way to a layup in the Eagles' 68-65 victory over the Tigers' Monday night.

With just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter against Mundy’s Mill Monday night, Eastside freshman basketball player Isaiah Miller got an introduction to what it takes to compete at the varsity level.

Leading 63-60 over the Tigers, the 5-foot-9 Miller grabbed a rebound, took the ball coast-to-coast, and gently laid the ball up off the glass as a foul was whistled on his defender.

Miller knocked down the ensuing free throw, preserving the Eagles’ late lead for a 68-65 victory over Mundy’s Mill in Eastside’s first game of the 2013 Walnut Grove High School Thanksgiving Shootout.

Miller finished with nine points in the win, all coming in the second half, and no play was bigger than his drive with 72 seconds left in the game.

“We had to put a ninth grade point guard in and he had to grow up,” Eastside coach Gregory Freeman said. “It’s a great learning curve for him. (That play) was huge.”

Behind 18-12 after the first quarter, Eastside held the Tigers to just 14 points in the second quarter, while torching the nets for 25 points in the period.

Eastside outscored Mundy’s Mill 20-2 to open the period, as five different players scored during the run, giving the Eagles a 32-22 advantage with 2:19 to go in the half. Justin Adams tied the game on a 3-pointer from the left wing to even the score 22-22, and Daniel Oduah found Anthony Henderson behind the arc, giving Eastside a 26-22 advantage.

The Tigers battled back to trim the Eagles’ advantage to five, scoring four point from the free-throw line in the final 32 seconds, but Eastside matched the Tigers’ production at the charity stripe, carrying a 37-32 lead into the break.

Freeman said that his team’s defense turned the Tigers on their heels in the second quarter.

“We moved our feet,” he said. “You can’t reach, especially when you’re in the open court. We have some guys who are quick-handed, but we weren’t moving our feet. We played much better defense and that led to a big second quarter.”

In the third quarter, Eastside looked poised to continue its dominant run, but senior guard Treyvon Francis fouled out with four minutes to go in the period. Francis finished with nine points, four coming in his shortened third quarter.

But, instead of folding, the Eagles rallied, holding on to a four-point lead going into the final quarter of play.
Miller scored seven points in the final quarter, while Henderson scored eight in the period to end the Tigers' hopes of a comeback bid.

Eastside widened its lead to nine after Timothy Haynes converted a pair of free throws, but Mundy's Mill had its chances down the stretch. The Tigers went 7 of 15 from the free-throw line during the quarter, missing four shots from the foul line in the final 3:26 of the contest.

Mundy's Mill did battle back to get within three of the Tigers after Miller's final basket, but a 3-pointer to tie the contest at the buzzer from Franklin Keesee just missed, as the Eagles survived.

Henderson finished the contest as the Eagles leading scorer with a game-high 19 points, including a 6-of-7 mark at the charity stripe, while the Tigers were led by Darius Wheeler's 18 points.

Freeman said the win over a Class AAAAA team, without their top player, said a lot about where the Eagles' program is headed.

"That says a lot about our team," he said. Your (Division I prospect) is gone with a quarter and a half to play and you win the game."

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