Eller comes up big for Eagles boys in win; girls fall as W. Craven rallies
Tue. December 04, 2012 at 11:30 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
Ashley’s Ingrid Jackson (left) fouls West Craven’s Jamie Cherry in the first half of their girls basketball game at Ashley High School. Cherry led West Craven to a 61-52 victory over the Screaming Eagles. (Photo by Mike Spencer)
Trey Eller wasn’t who the Ashley boys basketball team expected to take over a tight game.
But the senior forward’s layup with 46 seconds to play Tuesday put Ashley ahead, capped a dominant second half and gave the Screaming Eagles a 57-54 win against West Craven.
“He was a monster,” Ashley coach Bryn McSwain said. “He stepped up as a senior. That was huge.”
Eller had been either the third or fourth leading scorer in Ashley’s first two games, but West Craven, a regional semifinalist in 3A last season, focused on Ashley’s perimeter players, Ridell Camidge and Tyree Gathright. West Craven held both players to seven points each, but didn’t plan on Eller finding another level.
He was perfect from the floor in the third quarter with nine points, and made almost every big play down the stretch.
With 4:26 to play, Eller’s driving layup put Ashley up 48-46. With 3:38 to play he found T.J. Williams for an alley-oop. With 2:47 to play Eller dished to Quincy Rhodes. And with 46 seconds left, his layup put Ashley up for good.
Eller finished with a team-high 17 points, while T.J. Williams added 16 points, 10 in the second half. As a team, Ashley shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half.
Defensively, the Screaming Eagles (2-1) ramped up their pressure and forced West Craven into turnovers. Ashley trailed by six points at halftime, but while the Screaming Eagles were making their comeback, West Craven struggled.
West Craven (2-1) turned the ball over in six of its final eight possessions to end the third quarter as Ashley took a two-point advantage. West Craven’s Josh Cuthbertson finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds, but only had two field goals in the second half.
West Craven 61, Ashley 52
A second straight tough loss resonated with Ashley coach Adrienne Gale, who said her team needed to do some growing up.
West Craven guard Jamie Cherry scored 13 points in the third quarter as West Craven (2-1) erased a three-point halftime deficit and pulled away from the Screaming Eagles (1-2) for a 61-52 win. Gale said defensive breakdowns were critical.
“We were taking charges and helping on defense in the first half, and not in the second half,” Gale said. “We just let her walk right by. I don’t understand the lack of wanting to make a stop. I just don’t get it.”
Ashley limited Cherry, a junior who has verbally committed to UNC, to nine first-half points. But Cherry attacked the basket in the second half and found the hoop more consistently. Gale said her team was still trying to adjust to the loss of center and defensive stalwart Morgan Davis.
“We’re waiting for someone to step up on the defensive end,” Gale said. “It seems like they’re waiting for someone else to do it.Well sorry guys, Morgan’s not in there. Grow up, step up.”
Breanna Edwards scored 19 points to lead Ashley while Felicity Havens added 16 points.
Powell Latimer: 343-2261
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