12/22/09 — Eastern Wayne falls to Clayton

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Eastern Wayne falls to Clayton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 22, 2009 1:46 PM

CLAYTON -- Bodies crashed to the floor in a mad scramble for the loose-ball rebound.

The shrill whistle pierced the air and the gym fell silent.

Eastern Wayne coach Marvin Bowman got out of his chair and glanced at the scorer's table. The possession arrow pointed in Clayton's favor with 4.3 seconds remaining.

"That was huge," said Bowman.


The Comets scored on the inbounds pass and turned back the Warriors 47-42 during opening-day play in the 2009 Clayton Christmas Classic on Monday evening. Eastern Wayne (4-5 overall) faces Bunn in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. today at Clayton High School.

The teams traded scoring droughts.

Eastern Wayne misfired on its first 12 possessions of the second quarter, including an 0 for 9 effort from the floor. Clayton reeled off 16 of 18 points during one stretch, built a double-digit deficit and led 33-24 at halftime.

"At halftime we made some adjustments," said Bowman.

And Eastern Wayne capitalized on Clayton's offensive struggles.

The Warriors started attacking the gaps in the Comets' 1-3-1 zone defense and shots began to fall. Robert Washington's layup off Marvin Bowman Jr.'s assist, and back-to-back scores from senior point guard Lamar Best forged a 34-34 tie with 1:39 left in the period.

Dominique Sadler gave Eastern Wayne its first lead, 36-34, since the first quarter on a basket underneath. Clayton answered with Donte Johnson's old-fashioned, three-point play and held a 37-36 advantage after 24 minutes of action.

The Warriors claimed their last lead, 40-39, on Bowman Jr.'s tip-in off Will White's miss in the paint. Clayton guard Adam Parrish, who led all scorers with 16 points, buried a 3-pointer from the deep right corner and added two free throws off a steal to make it 44-40 with 2:29 to go.

"A defensive mistake," said coach Bowman of Parrish's open look on the 3-pointer. "We had a man running at him (to defend), but we should have already been there. Little things like that were costly."

White closed the gap to 44-42. The Comets' Tiraq Jones missed a free throw, giving the Warriors possession with 22.7 seconds to go. White got open inside, missed a short shot and Clayton's Quante Lee got fouled on the rebound.

"I thought Will had a good look right there at the end," said Bowman. "If we get that rebound and put it up, we tie it up at that point. We just didn't make our shots."

Lee hit the front end of the one-and-one, missed the second and players from both teams battled for the loose-ball rebound. The Comets (7-4) gained the held-ball possession and escaped.

White paced the Warriors' offense with 13 points, while Bowman Jr. contributed a double-double -- 10 points, 10 rebounds. Best finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds and five steals.