Eastern Wayne got a much-needed win on Thursday evening against Rosewood.
Down 29-22 at halftime, the Warriors came back to defeat Rosewood 53-46 and win their first game of the season.
“I can’t say how proud I am of them. I saw some really good things, and I’m so happy for them that they got their first win,” Eastern Wayne head coach Michael Gurganus said. “It’s just one of those things where they’re starting to see, I know it’s a new system, but they’re starting to see it.
“Kudos to Rosewood for punching us in the mouth, and I thought our boys handled it well.”
Alijah Brown’s three-pointer early in the first quarter gave the Warriors a 7-4 lead, but from that point on, the Eagles controlled the rest of the quarter.
Rosewood used a 16-4 run, which Ty Waltman capped off with a three-pointer, to build up a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Rosewood played well in their 1-3-1, and I thought we had a good gameplan against it, but it kind of slowed up, and Rosewood made adjustments,” Gurganus said.
The Eagles would build a 10-point lead a couple of times throughout the second quarter, but the Warriors cut the lead down 29-22 at halftime.
And in the second half, the Warriors made their move.
An 11-4 run to start the third quarter tied things up 33-33, but the Eagles fought back to take a 37-35 lead, but Zavian Oates hit back-to-back three-pointers to push Eastern Wayne ahead 41-37.
A layup from Otis Coley made it 41-39, but the Warriors would never relinquish the lead.
“First of all, it started with defense,” Gurganus said about the Warriors’ comeback. “Offensively, we just needed to move the ball.
“But it really stared by our defense. Our defense jump-started our offense in the second half.”
Eastern Wayne opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take 49-39 lead with five minutes left in the game and forced Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell to call a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Jaelen Solomon’s layup trimmed the lead down to 49-41, but Eastern Wayne responded with a dunk from Albert Brown that seemingly sealed the Eagles’ fate.
The Warriors held off the Eagles for the rest of the quarter to get the victory.
“They started seeing it, and I was just so proud of them, and I thought they started playing defense the way I’ve wanted them to play defense all year long,” Gurganus said. “Rosewood is a very well-coached team, and they played hard, and I’m just tickled for my boys.”
Eastern Wayne (1-6 overall) entertains Southern Wayne (2-1) tonight, while Rosewood head to Princeton for the Bulldogs’ season opener.