NICKELSVILLE — Eastside boys basketball coach Patrick Damron told his players to expect to encounter resistance when they traveled to Twin Springs Tuesday night.
The Spartans got what they expected.
Ryan Milgrim scored 14 of his 18 total points in the fourth quarter and Eastside held off upset-minded Twin Springs 57-52 in Cumberland District action.
“This is probably one of the toughest places in the area to go for a win, particularly in a district game. Any time you can do that, you take it and go to the house,” said Damron, whose team was locked in a tie after the first and second quarters and didn’t move ahead for good until three minutes remained in the third period.
The decisive shift was a cluster of four steals by sophomore Matt Green, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half.
One of the manufactured turnovers resulted in Forrest Lunsford’s scoop shot for the 29-27 lead with 3:19 in the third quarter. Within a span of 15 seconds, Green hit a trifecta and converted a backcourt steal into a layup. With less than two minutes showing, he got a steal and transition layup for a 37-29 lead.
“His intensity was great. We put him up on the ball. He’s long and he’s tall. He got in some passing lanes and was able to get some easy baskets,” Damron said.
Twin Springs closed to within five points with about three minutes remaining in the game after a pair of treys from Dalton Grizzle. But Milgrim, who went 8-for-9 at the free throw line, kept the Spartans afloat after the Titans’ Caleb Smith and Luke Finch fouled out in quick succession.
“(Milgrim) is a smart player. And we let him get to the basket about three times. We had people in position, they just didn’t step over there,” said Twin Springs coach John McCrary.
Smith scored 13 points to pace the Titans (4-9, 0-1). Braeden McNew scored 12 points and Grizzle had 11.
Milgrim had seven rebounds for Eastside (10-4, 3-0), as did Wes Yeary.
“Ryan is not the biggest kid on the floor and he’s probably not going to out-jump anybody on the floor, but he has a very high basketball IQ,” Damron said. “He knows how to use his body when he gets to the basket.
“There’s no doubt he’s the glue that keeps us together right now.”
The girls’ game started out looking like it might be as tight as the boys’ turned out to be, with Eastside leading only 7-4 after the first quarter.
The Lady Spartans appeared to emerge from suspended animation in the second stanza, outscoring the Lady Titans 22-1 that period. They roared off to a 59-26 victory to also remain unbeaten in district play.
“I think they’d spent too much time watching the scores in the newspaper. I keep telling them ” said Eastside coach Jeff Adkins.
“I think we finally started clicking. In the second quarter, they finally woke up and got in a running game and a pressing game. When we do that, we’re pretty good,” he said.
Lone senior Samantha Cole scored 15 points for the Lady Spartans (7-5, 3-0). Lindsay Dean added 14 and Erin Stanley chimed in with 13.
“Everything we do flows through (Cole). She gets Erin going then she gets Lindsay involved,” Adkins said.
Jamie McCloud and Shiloah Darnell scored eight points apiece to pace the Lady Titans (3-7, 0-1).