12/16/08 — Warriors get first win

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Warriors get first win

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 16, 2008 1:46 PM

This one didn't get away.

Having struggled to close out ballgames this season while stumbling to an 0-6 start, Eastern Wayne appeared to have learned from its failures in a 67-50 home non-conference win over Wilmington Laney.

The victory avenged a 59-38 loss at Laney on Nov. 25.

The Warriors used an 11-2 run at the start of the third quarter to turn a 27-25 halftime lead into a 38-27 advantage. Eastern Wayne big man Colton Butler had seven of his 13 points during that span.

Kyle Legates' 3-pointer pulled the Buccaneers to within 40-32 later in the third but Lavonte Nekiver's layup and Will White's dunk gave the Warriors a 46-36 cushion heading into the fourth.

Laney (3-4 overall) made one last surge and trimmed the deficit to 46-40 early in the fourth before Eastern Wayne (1-6) responded with seven unanswered points. White's layup ignited the spurt and Lamar Best's jumper capped the run that extended the lead to double digits for good.

"The kids are starting to understand their roles and of course, that's a process we're going through," said Warriors head coach Marvin Bowman. "We think we're getting closer and closer. I was real pleased with our effort tonight. This will give us something to build on."

Eastern Wayne forced 24 turnovers, including 12 in the second half which led to several dunks and layups in transition.

"We were able to get a few reads in the passing lanes and were able to get a couple of breaks," said Bowman. "We played them at their place and the beat us, and they played very, very well. So, we were really looking forward to playing this team tonight."

Butler, scoreless in the first half, asserted himself on both ends of the floor in the final two quarters. The senior altered numerous shots and grabbed rebounds defensively, while making his presence felt on the offensive interior. Butler finished with 13 points.

"Colton was able to get some really big rebounds and block some shots," said Bowman. "I can't say enough about Colton. He really came to play."

The Buccaneers opened up a 23-19 advantage midway through the second quarter before the Warriors scored eight of the final 10 points to grab a two-point halftime lead.

Cody Kirkham scored Eastern Wayne's first nine points as the Warriors built a 9-2 margin to start the game. Kirkham finished with a game-high 15 points.

"Cody hit a couple of big shots for us early in the game," said Bowman. "I think that helped us a lot. The kids had confidence and were talking. Those are the kinds of things you talk about, but the kids slowly have to grasp. It was really fun to see them put those things together."

Laney came storming back behind 10 first-quarter points from Wayne Heidleberg and led 17-15 after the first eight minutes. Heidleberg had a team-high 14 points.

Eastern Wayne plays host to North Lenoir tonight.