Playing in its first game in three weeks, Eastern Wayne shook off the rust and defeated Rosewood 45-42 on Tuesday evening.
The win improves the Warriors’ record to 3-7 overall, and since starting the season 0-6, the Warriors have won three of their past four games.
“I’m thrilled. Me and the coaching staff kept preaching that we’re fine and we just have to get our rhythm,” Eastern Wayne head coach Michael Gurganus said. “I truly believe that we’re headed in the right direction.”
A three-pointer from Quay Butler late in the first quarter gave the Eagles a 13-9 lead, but Eastern Wayne answered with an 8-2 run to take a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Albert Brown scored six of the Warriors of the nine points, and Brown finished with a game-high 27 points.
“Albert came out stroking. He was in rhythm,” Gurganus said.
Ty Waltman opened the second quarter with a three-pointer to put the Eagles back on top, but the Warriors outscored the Eagles 12-10 down the stretch to take a 29-28 lead at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, five straight points from Brown pushed Eastern Wayne ahead 34-28. However, the Eagles eventually cut Eastern Wayne’s lead down to 36-34 at the end of the third quarter.
“Credit to Rosewood. They just running their stuff and getting baskets and getting second-chance points,” Gurganus said.
With three minutes left in the game, Butler nailed another three-pointer to give Rosewood a 42-41 lead, but a clutch basket from Zacchaeus Mitchell put Eastern Wayne in front 43-41.
The Warriors attempted to run out the clock, but with 16 seconds left, they turned the ball over, which gave Rosewood a chance to tie or win the game.
Rosewood could not convert, but after a jump ball, the Eagles were awarded possession and another chance, but with seven seconds remaining, the Eagles could not convert a second time.
After getting fouled, Brown drained two free throws to increase Eastern Wayne’s lead to 45-42. The Eagles had one more chance to tie the game, but they could not get the shot off, and the Warriors were able to get the win.
“I’m proud of the boys, and I told them ‘good teams find a way to win,’ and I felt like we found a way,” Gurganus said.
Eastern Wayne travels to North Lenoir (4-9) on Thursday, while Rosewood hosts North Johnston (7-5) on Friday.