FAYETTEVILLE - The Eastern boys' and girls' basketball teams earned victories in the Brown County Holiday Tournanent semifinals Thursday at Fayetteville High School.
The Warriors held off the G-Men, 54-50, while the Lady Warriors cruised to a 77-36 victory over the Lady G-Men.
WARRIORS 54, G-MEN 50
Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch earned the victory for Eastern over Georgetown.
The Warriors went 13-of-14 in the fourth quarter from the line and 19-of-22 for the game to move on to Friday's championship game.
"We're growing, we did a pretty good job of hitting free throws and taking care of the ball a little bit better down the stretch," Warriors coach Rob Beucler said. "We're just trying to grow up some, be more poised and be more knowledgeable of the game. We made a step in the right direction with that tonight."
Marcus Hamilton led the Warriors with 20 points and hit all six of his free throw attempts in the fourth. Hunter Ruckell chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds in the win.
Eastern led pretty much throughout, smothering G-Men star Noah Pack with multiple bodies on him at all times and were determined to let someone else beat them.
The strategy worked as Pack was still able to be a force, scoring 20 points, 11 of them in the fourth quarter and grabbed 15 rebounds, but the rest of the G-Men were ice cold shooting on the night, going 3-of-16 from downtown and Logan Doss the only other Georgetown player able to crack the double-digit scoring mark with 10 points.
"That's two straight games teams have decided to guard Pack with three players and we have to get other guys going and we just haven't. We didn't shoot it well," G-Men coach Doug Williams said.
The Warriors led 14-9 after one and built as big as a 12-point lead in the first half before going into halftime leading, 26-19.
Eastern then held the G-Men scoreless the first 4:45 of the second half, extending out to a 35-19 advantage before Pack stopped the drought with a putback. The G-Men would go on a 22-8 run from there to get within two at 43-41, at the 2:41 mark in the fourth.
"We had chances a couple times with possession to tie it or take the lead, but we'd just turn it right back over," Williams said.
Clutch free throw after clutch free throw was buried in the closing minutes as the G-Men were unable to get things tied up or take a lead the rest of the way, dropping to 4-3 on the season.
"Compared to last year, we're a better team, top to bottom. But there's other things to basketball then just being better. Knowing how to win, knowing the mentality to show up with, knowing the mentality to close out games, those are all things we need to learn and we'll get there," Williams said.
The G-Men will face Fayetteville in the consolation game, Friday at 3:30 p.m.
The Warriors, who improved to 4-4, get Western Brown in the title game, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
"It's how we shoot it, how we take care of it and need our defense to show up. Defense has to be consistent every night, if we can do that every night, we'll be able to play with a lot of teams. Those things we can control," Beucler said.
All games are played at Fayetteville High School.
LADY WARRIORS 77, LADY G-MEN 36
Eastern's pressure defense was just too much for Georgetown in the first game of the day at the Brown County Holiday Tournament at Fayetteville.
The Lady Warriors forced 30 turnovers as they ran away with the 41-point victory.
"I thought that would be a definite advantage. I knew we could turn them over, didn't think it would quite be that much," Lady Warriors coach Kevin Pickerill said.
Whitney Broughton led three Eastern players in double figures with 23 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. Mikayla Farris added 18 points and eight rebounds while Morgan Reynolds chipped in 10 points. Alexa Pennington just missed a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds as they improved to 8-2 on the season.
"We're not happy totally where we're at, but we're playing very good and growing as a team without Allison (Day). The girls have learned their roles, chemistry is a lot better, the kids want to be here, they want to work and play hard. When you got that atmosphere, good things are going to happen more times than not," Pickerill said.
They'll take on Western Brown in Friday's championship at 5 p.m.
Georgetown was paced by Kim Seigla with 12 points, knocking down three 3-pointers in the contest. Kennedy Underwood added 11 points and brought down nine rebounds.
After a slow start in the opening minutes, the Lady Warriors were able to start pulling away once the turnover count started racking up for Georgetown.
An 18-10 lead after the first quarter quickly turned into a 29-10 advantage just two minutes into the second quarter. The Lady Warriors would take a 36-18 lead into the half.
Smelling blood, Eastern had its offense clicking in the third quarter, scoring 24 points and building a 60-28 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
"We dominated the paint that quarter and that really set the tone there," Pickerill said. "I told the girls at halftime that I didn't want to trade buckets with them, I didn't want to trade shots, we wanted to turn them over and attack the glass and I felt we were able to accomplish that."
They'd continue to pile it on in the fourth as they came away with the 41-point victory.
The Lady G-Men dropped to 2-5 on the season and will face Fayetteville Friday at 2 p.m. in the consolation game.