After his team had won the Greenville County Thanksgiving Tournament, Eastside High boys basketball coach Tom Chamness offered a simple assessment of his team.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Chamness said after the Eagles defeated Travelers Rest 49-46 in overtime on Nov. 21.
Eastside, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AAA, won the game on its home court against a region rival it will face at least twice more during the season. The Devildogs overcame a 13-point Eastside lead in the second half to send the game into overtime.
Eastside senior Kyle Van Hoff converted a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
Chamness’ statement came despite the Eagles’ winning all three games in the tournament. After beating J. L. Mann 82-58, Eastside had to rally to edge Southside, another Peach Blossom opponent, 59-58 in the semifinals.
“Our kids played hard, and that part’s good,” said Chamness. “We do some good things. We’ve just got a lot of areas where we need to improve.”
Chamness said the team’s execution is poor at this early stage of the season.
Playing the early tournament games help the Eagles prepare and see where they need to get better, he said.
“It gives you something to really find out where you are and what you’ve got to do,” Chamness said. “These tournaments are really good for that.”
The games against Southside and Travelers Rest confirmed what Chamness and everybody else already knew. The Peach Blossom Region will be competitive.
“It’s going to be like that every doggone night in our region,” he said. “It’s a mixup and a scramble.”
He noted that the final four teams in the Upstate last season were from the region, and this year tough teams Blue Ridge, Greer, and Pickens join the Peach Blossom.
The Eagles do have experience with players such as Davaris McGowens, Keil Sherman, Wes Johnson, Luke Jones, Nigel Owens, Ryan Mason and Van Hoff. Sherman scored 59 points in the tournament, and McGowens scored 38.