Eastside earned a hard-fought overtime win against George Wythe Tuesday night in the VHSL Class 1 boys basketball semifinals at Virginia-Wise’s Prior Center. The Spartans triumphed 69-65 to advance to the first state final in the short existence of their school.
“This is a special team,” Eastside coach Patrick Damron said. “I tell my wife all the time that I feel like I’m coaching a small college team.”
George Wythe’s Jake Martin nailed a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation to tie the game at 58.
The Spartans, who gained some separation in a wild overtime period, were led by Luke Lawson with 24 points, five rebounds and four crucial blocks.
“There wasn’t a second in the game that I didn’t think we would win,” Lawson said.
PRIOR CENTER ROCKING
The Spartans (26-3) and Maroons (25-4) both got off to great start and the Prior Center was rocking early.
Lawson got the crowd going with an authoritative dunk that ignited the Eastside student section behind the bench.
The Maroons led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter behind some sharpshooting from the outside.
DOWN A TOWER
The towering duo comprising the 6-foot-8 Lawson and 6-7 Colyn Sturgill gave the Maroons problems on the inside, but Sturgill went out of the game midway through the second quarter after picking up his third foul of the half.
It didn’t seem to bother the Spartans too much. Ethan Powers had five critical points — including a 3-pointer — to help push Eastside to a 31-30 halftime lead.
WYTHE WITH A CHANCE
The size disadvantage took its toll on George Wythe. However, Ty Farrow was a big help for the Maroons, hitting two 3-pointers to stake his team to a 48-46 advantage going into the fourth period.
Sturgill got back into the game in the third but played cautiously with three fouls.
Sturgill coupled 15 points with 14 rebounds, and Powers added 16 points to the winning cause.
Martin topped George Wythe with 23 points. Josh Reeves contributed 11 points and 13 boards for the Maroons.