East Nashville’s Thomas Booker goes up for a shot over a crowd of Hillsboro defenders on Friday.
East Nashville added another win to its perfect start, knocking off visiting Hillsboro 62-54 Friday evening.
The Eagles (12-0), who led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, took control early, jumping out to a 14-6 first-quarter advantage, and it wasn’t until the game’s closing stages that the Burros started showing signs of life.
“We’d been practicing all week for this game,” East Nashville’s Thomas Booker said. “We were already kind of pumped up for the game, and (the fast start) kind of gave us an extra push. We just kept the pedal down.”
Booker, who led the Eagles with a game-high 28 points, finished 16-of-17 from the free throw line, and the junior guard went a perfect 8-for-8 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.
Those shots proved to be crucial, too, as Hillsboro charged back in the final period, pulling to within 60-54 after back-to-back 3-pointers from Malik Parham with less than a minute to play.
“I know they kept hitting 3s,” Booker said. “They came back pretty fast, but we got to the free-throw line and I kept making my free-throw shots.”
Darius Ferguson and Donovan Donaldson also knocked down fourth-quarter treys for the Burros (7-4), but it was simply too little too late.
“We’re capable,” Hillsboro coach Rodney Thweatt said. “We played terrible tonight and we looked up at the scoreboard and it was 60-54, but we didn’t deserve to win the game. Plain and simple, we just didn’t deserve to win the game tonight.”
The Burros, who’ve now lost four of their last six after starting the season 5-0, were led by Thomas Smith’s team-high 19 points — seven of which came in the fourth quarter — while Donaldson added 16 in the losing effort.
Senior Toree McGhee and junior Leonardo Holmes each contributed 10 points in the win for the Eagles.
“The only stat I worry about is wins,” East Nashville coach Jim Fey said. “I’ve got a bunch of kids that are continually buying into winning, and that’s what we’re trying to do here — we’re trying to win. I’m real proud of the guys.”
Reach Michael Murphy at 259-8018 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.