Javen Rushin was in the right place at the right time to keep the Eastern High School boys basketball team in the hunt for a Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament title.
Rushin’s putback at the buzzer gave the Eagles a 56-54 victory over Manual in Tuesday’s second round at Valley.
After Dominique Knight drove the lane and missed and Caleb Williams missed a tip attempt, Rushin caught the rebound near the basket and scored.
“I just wanted to make sure I got to the boards and got the rebound,” Rushin said. “It felt good.”
Rushin and Chance Moore both scored 16 points as Eastern (10-5) advanced to face the winner of Wednesday’s Trinity-Valley game in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal. Kobey Jones added 10 points for the Eagles.
Eric Niemann (17 points, four assists) and Steve Gordon (12 points, seven rebounds) had solid games for Manual (9-8), which lost to Eastern 53-47 last week.
Manual led Tuesday’s rematch 50-42 after a Niemann 3-pointer with 5:48 left before Eastern battled back. Williams sank two free throws to cap a 10-2 run that tied the score at 52 with 3:07 left.
After the teams traded a pair of free throws, Manual’s Marquis McClendon was called for an offensive foul with 1:26 remaining. Eastern ran down the remaining time without calling a timeout.
“They were straight man-to-man, and we wanted to keep it that way,” Eastern coach David Henley said. “We had good ballhandlers in the game, and we did what we wanted to do.”
Knight’s shot from just inside the free-throw line bounced off the back of the rim, and Williams’ putback try was short before Rushin scored just before the buzzer.
“We talk to our guys all the time about games like that being won on the second shot,” Henley said. “That’s what happened.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
MANUAL 22 5 14 13 – 54
EASTERN 13 12 13 18 – 56
Manual (9-8) – M. McClendon 3, Rivers 4, Gordon 12, Britt 2, Comstock 7, J. McClendon 6, Niemann 17, Hawkins 3.
Eastern (10-5) – Knight 2, Wyche 3, Robinson 1, Moore 16, Jones 10, Williams 6, Rushin 16, Wright 2.
3-point goals – M. McClendon, Gordon, J. McClendon, Niemann; Wyche, Jones.