The Eastern boys’ basketball team shot 58.8 percent in the second half and used an 11-0 run that spanned the final play of the third quarter and the start of the fourth to avenge an earlier loss to Fern Creek with a 59-50 win on Tuesday in the Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
Fern Creek had beat host, and previously unbeaten, Eastern 63-55 Dec. 30 in the City of Middletown Holiday Classic.
“At the time we played Fern Creek we were 8-0 and feeling our oats and feeling like we were invincible, but they served us a slice of humble pie and against a good team that’s well-coached you have to have focus,” said Eagles coach David Henley, whose team will play the winner between top-seeded Ballard and Male at 7 p.m. Friday. “(Today) we made the fundamental plays we needed to make.”
One of those came at the end of the third quarter when standout center Trey Moses lost the ball, but stayed with the play and deflected a would-be outlet pass near the 3-point line. Teammate Kobey Jones picked up the loose ball and drained a three just before the buzzer to give the Eagles a 44-40 lead.
“That was probably the play of the game,” Henley said. “We lost the ball and they had an easy breakaway but Trey Moses deflected the ball. … Now instead of being down one, we’re up four.”
Eastern then scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter as sophomore guard Dominique Knight sandwiched a floater and an inside hoop around a pair of layups (the first off a deft feed from Moses) by Jones.
Senior forward Cameron Reed, who scored five points in the first meeting, tallied a team-high 14 on the strength of 8-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. Moses, who sat out the final 10:08 of the first half after picking up two fouls, added 12.
“I just feel like we played more physical and we played harder (than the first time, when) we came out lackadaisical and didn’t play hard,” Moses said.
Sophomore forward Caleb Williams, who grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, and Jones chipped in with 11 points apiece for the Eagles (13-2), who shot 44.4 percent (20 for 45) from the field.
Freshman guard Anthony Wales scored a game-high 16 points for Fern Creek (10-7), which shot 38.5 percent (20 for 52) from the field. Junior guard Tony Washington added 10 points for the Tigers, who played without freshman guard Trey Hill, the team’s second-leading scorer, due to illness.
“I think at that point, with a young team like we have, you try to crawl back into it you try to make a hero play,” said Fern Creek coach James Schooler, whose team started two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a senior. “They’re learning to play as ‘we’, not ‘I.’”
Fern Creek (10-7) – Wales 16, Price 6, Hawkins 6, Washington 10, Agonva 2, Cook 7, Rogers 3.
Eastern (13-2) – Wyche 3, Reed 14, Jones 11, Williams 11, Moses 12, Knight 4, Moore 1, Green 3.
3-point goals – Wales 2, Washington 2, Green 1, Jones 1, Price 1, Rogers 1.