And Eastside coach Patrick Damron could not be happier about it.
Damron’s Spartans jumped ahead early and withstood foul trouble and ugly play at times to take a 65-54 win over Wise Central in the finals Saturday at the Virginia-Wise Prior Center.
“Central is athletic. They’re long. They took us out of our offense at times,” Damron said. “It was an ugly game. I think we need games like that. We need to be able to grind games like that out. They’re all not going to be in the 80s for us.
“It’s nice when we’re knocking down outside shots, but we’re going to have to grind some games out,” the coach added. “Central is as athletic a team as we’ll see. They have several really good players. I’m tickled with the win. I don’t think we played our best, but I think Central had a lot to do with that.”
Chris Swann was named the tournament’s MVP after scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds for the Spartans (10-1) in the championship game.
“Coach told me to go rebound, so I did. And my teammates got me some open shots,” Swann said.
Ethan Powers added 17 points for Eastside and J.R. Kilgore had 10.
Central (7-4) got 14 points from Elijah Hayes, 11 from Ben Stallard and 10 from Landon Elkins.
“They started off a lot faster than we did and we had to work our way out of a hole,” said Central coach T.J. McAmis.
The Warriors cut the Eastside lead to 50-48 with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter on a jumper from Jordan Bishop. But a five-point swing from Eastside on the next two possessions put the Spartans up 55-48 at the end of the period.
“That was a big possession,” McAmis said. “It was like after that we could not come back.”
J.I. BURTON 50, RICHLANDS 49
Zac Campbell scored 23 points, Trevor Culbertson and Caleb Williams had nine apiece and Burton held on to win the tournament’s third-place game.
Williams also reached a personal milestone, surpassing the 1,000-point scoring mark in his career.
Houston Thacker finished with seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Raiders (6-2).
Richlands’ Race Moir narrowed the lead to one point with a basket with two seconds left in the game, but that was as close as the Blue Tornado (4-5) could get.
Moir finished with 19 points and Cade Simmons added 10.
CHILHOWIE 76, HONAKER 62
Honaker jumped ahead early, but Chilhowie battled back strong over the final three quarters to take the win.
Dylan Catron had a monster day with 34 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (3-3). Teammate Jake Kegley finished with 12 points.
Honaker (3-3) got 30 points and 11 rebounds from Grayson Honaker, and Trajon Boyd put up 17 points.
BEREA 63, NORTHWOOD 62
Tristan Duckworth led Berea (7-5) with 17 points. Jaylen Dorsey had 14 and Ben West added 10 for the team from Kentucky.
Northwood (5-5) had 21 points from Eli Carter, and Luke Carter came up with 18 points in the closest consolation game of the day.
VIRGINIA HIGH 59, LEBANON 40
Virginia High jumped out to a 25-12 halftime lead and cruised to the win against its Southwest District foe.
Gavin Austin led Virginia High (5-5) with 18 points, and Isaac Simcox registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Lebanon (4-6) got 13 points from Preston Steele and 12 from Sage Potts.
RIDGEVIEW 58, RYE COVE 51
Gabe Counts scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Ridgeview to the win.
The teams were tied through the first three quarters before the Wolfpack outscored Rye Cove 17-10 in the final period to pick up the win.
Tyler O’Quinn finished with 14 points for Ridgeview (6-3), and Trenton Adkins added 10.
Rye Cove (1-7) got 15 points from Zach Baker and Chase Love added 14.