Warriors fend off Rams
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on December 14, 2011 1:48 PM
Eastern Wayne built a comfortable lead, watched it dwindle away and then rallied to hold off Cleveland 55-52 on the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference boys' basketball scene Tuesday night.
The Warriors jumped out to a 9-0 advantage over the first three minutes of the contest and held steady until halftime. The second half was anything but steady for the home team.
"I think we went into the locker room and we got a little bit complacent," Eastern Wayne assistant coach Steve Brinson said. "Hopefully we learned tonight that you can't watch a team for a half and just assume 'We are going to beat those guys'."
The Warriors maintained a 10-point advantage, despite some choppy play, until four minutes to go in the final period. That is when the Rams began raining 3-point baskets. On three consecutive possessions, a different Ram nailed a shot from beyond the arc and cut the Eastern Wayne lead to 48-44 with 90 seconds left in regulation.
Cleveland guard Jesse Olmstead pulled the Rams within one point with his second 3-pointer of the night as the clock rolled under one minute to play. Eastern Wayne inbounded the ball to Lee Atkinson who was immediately fouled.
Over the next 49 seconds, Atkinson made seven-of-eight free throws to help the Warriors preserve the win.
"We did a very good job of moving on our inbounds plays and setting screens so that Lee could get the ball," Brinson said. "He was obviously the guy we wanted out there because he is a great shooter and he is able to make big shots at big moments."
Atkinson finished with 32 points to lead the Eastern Wayne offense. Josiah Davis added nine points and eight rebounds in the win. Tyrik Kornegay finished with six points and six boards.
Bobby Stenberg paced Cleveland with 15 points. Olmstead added 13 points and five rebounds.
Eastern Wayne (5-2 overall, 2-0 ECC) entertains Ayden-Grifton tonight.
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