The wacky District 10-AA boys race just got a little wackier.
East Literature, which 14-year head coach Jim Fey calls potentially his best at the school, rallied from 17 points down in the first half and pulled out a 52-45 victory over David Lipscomb Tuesday night, tightening up the jumbled race even more.
Sparked by 5-9 junior Cheau (pronounced Shay) Hendricks, the Eagles went on a 13-0 blitz late in the third quarter for a 41-33 lead. They held off a furious Lipscomb charge down the stretch.
“We finally started running our offense and playing more like a team,’’ Fey said as his team pulled into a three-way tie with Lipscomb, and Maplewood for first place with a 4-1 district records (10-5 overall). Lipscomb fell to 4-1 and 10-4. CPA would have made it a four-way tie, but the Lions (3-2) lost at Whites Creek Tuesday by two points on a last-second shot. Jalen Lindsey had 23 for CPA.
With the district tournament at East Lit in February, the Eagles will take any little edge they can grab onto.
East Lit grabbed the lead for good when Jacques Rucker had a put-back hoop for a 34-33 lead. Andre Scott’s three-pointer, then a floater in the lane by Hendricks gave East a 45-36, its biggest lead.
“Our coach gave us an inspirational speech at halftime, we started making plays, then we made some free throws at the end,’’ said Hendricks who led all scorers with 17, including 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute. “Our second group came in, played well and that set the tone for us.’’
Hendricks capped his big game with a slam dunk with five seconds left.
Despite the win, the team's play is not always to Fey’s liking, as his players give him some trying moments.
“Sometimes I feel I need to buy flea powder for myself, because every one of my guys has been in my dog house at one time or another,’’ Fey said.
On Tuesday, Hendricks was definitely not one of them.
“Cheau is the quickest player I’ve ever coached,’’ Fey said. “He can disrupt so much of what the other team does.’’
Lipscomb got off to a hot start with Carter Sanderson scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first half, as he wound up hitting three threes. Blake Bell also scored 15, hitting two threes, and Cody Connelly had 10.
“We have a good team, but we have had some difficulties finishing games, and this one was a good example,’’ said Lipscomb coach Mike McPherson. “We missed about four point blank layups and six free throws (5-of-11) in the fourth quarter alone. If we make some of those, the outcome may have been entirely different.’’
The Mustangs go right back into the middle of the action as they host rival CPA Friday night in another big game in a wacky district.
It was a big night for East Lit as the girls beat Lipscomb 57-44 in the opener.
Senior Kelli Cowan was recognized between games for scoring her 1,000th point, the first East Lit girls player to do so.
Tim Johnson resigned as football coach and athletic director at Battle Ground Academy to accept the position as principal in Arkansas, opening the door for one of his assistants to take over.
Marty Euverard, who has been offensive coordinator on the BGA staff under Johnson for the past three years, was named the new coach, the school announced late Monday.
Euverard guided Murfreesboro Oakland to the 1998 state ttile and six playoff appearances before coming to BGA. BGA was 5-6 this season, losing in the opening round of the DII playoffs to MBA.
Johnson, now off to Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., took the BGA job in 2006. His teams posted a 20-22 four-year record at BGA, turning things around after a 1-9 mark his first year.