Isaiah Miller has been a revelation for the Eagles this season. He’s a leader, the team’s top scorer and its best player, but even Miller couldn’t defeat Walnut Grove by himself. The junior guard scored 34 points, but Eastside lost its second-straight region game 63-55 to the Warriors.
Tight defense, Eastside turnovers and precise passing from Walnut Grove ignited the Warriors for a hot start, giving them a 9-1 lead midway through the first. The Warriors held the Eagles to one point, a free throw from Isaiah Miller, in the first five minutes of the game.
Miller converted a layup to make it 9-3 with almost two minutes left in the first but Walnut Grove answered with a three. Miller would score all five Eastside points as the Warriors led the Eagles 13-5 after the first.
The Eagles were visibly frustrated with the slow start and it showed as they made silly mistakes in the early minutes of the second. However, Eastside was able to get back in it with a 6-0 run capped off by a steal and a layup from Keondre Perry that made it 14-11, Walnut Grove.
Coming out of a Warrior timeout, Walnut Grove’s Faizon Jackson nailed a triple to get the lead back to six. The Eagles tried to answer but Joshua Cammon missed from beyond the arc. Eastside’s inability to hit open shots was a problem all night, especially from deep.
Miller got the crowd roaring with a two-handed flush over a helpless Walnut Grove defender to make it 19-13, Warriors. Hanging on the rim earned him a delay of game call, but it was worth it.
A kerfuffle over a loose ball on the offensive end for Eastside led to a technical foul on Cammon and two free throws put Walnut Grove up 21-13.
The usual high-scoring Eagle offense was nowhere to be found in the first half. Miller carried Eastside with 13 points but it wasn't enough, as the Warriors led 24-17 at the half.
The Eagles started getting better looks but couldn't convert. Raytavious Jackson scored the team's only bucket in the first three minutes of the second half.
Walnut Grove held a 30-19 lead with 4:12 left in the third. Eastside switched its defense from zone to man-to-man just under the four minute mark to give the Warrior offense a different look.
Eastside’s defense wasn't the problem, the offense was. Outside of Miller the team just couldn't score even when they had open looks. Walnut Grove ended the third quarter rolling against Eastside’s press defense, taking a 41-23 lead into the fourth.
Perry finally connected from beyond the arc and cut the lead to 15. Miller followed with a three of his own with a defender in his face to force a Warrior timeout and drop the lead to 12 with 6:13 remaining.
The Eagles came out in their press defense and immediately forced a steal that led to a three from Perry. The lead was back to 11 after a Walnut Grove score.
Three more points got the lead back to 14 before a steal and score gave the Eagles hope, cutting the Warriors’ lead to 12 with 4:16 left to play.
Miller stole the ball coming out of the timeout and scored to get within 10. The Warriors answered but Jackson got the lead down to nine with an and-one.
Walnut Grove would answer again but Miller came back strong with a double move that led to an and-one to make it 50-42, Warriors lead with less than three to play.
Down eight with 2:28 to play, the Eagles called timeout hoping to make one final push.
The Eagles were able to cut it to six but a 4-0 run helped put the game out of reach as the strong traveling Warrior crowd erupted with “Let’s go Warriors” cheers up 10 with 42 seconds left on their way to victory.