WISE — The Wise County teams in the Grand Home Furnishings Holiday Classic finished one-two-three in the Prior Center at UVa-Wise this past weekend. Eastside was the tournament champion. Central finished in second place while J.I. Burton finished third in the twelve-team tourney.
The Raiders played their first game on Thursday evening defeating the Chilhowie Warriors by a score of 79-50. The Raiders got off to a blistering start and led 24-15 after the first period. They would not relinquish the lead in the game. The Raiders made 11 3-pointers in the win.
Caleb Williams led the Raiders in scoring with 19 points. Houston Thacker had a double-double with 17 points and down 10 rebounds. Zac Campbell and Derek Allen each scored 14 points.
The Central Warriors advanced to their Thursday night contest with the Honaker Tigers following their Wednesday evening 43-25 win over the Lebanon Pioneers. The Warriors defeated the Tigers to advance to the semi-final round 79-63.
Elijah Hayes led the Warrior attack against Honaker scoring 21 points. Bryson Collins scored 14 points and controlled the lane for Warriors. Landon Elkins scored 12 points; Jordan Bishop added six points and Ben Stallard scored five points.
The wins set up a semi-final matchup between Central and Burton Friday night.
The Eastside Spartans defeated the Ridgeview Wolfpack in the first round of the tournament by a score of 88-59 on Wednesday.
Their second round matchup on Thursday was with the Pirates from Berea, Ky. The Spartans drummed the Pirates by a score of 85-52.
Ethan Powers led the high-powered Spartan attack with 29 points. Nick Livingston made five 3-pointers as part of his 16 point seven-assist performance. Connor Blevins scored 13 points and had eight rebounds. J.R. Kilgore scored 12 points and added five assists. Chris Swann scored five points and was strong on the boards with 12 rebounds.
The Spartans advanced to their semi-final matchup against the Blue Tornadoes from Richlands on Friday night.
The game was never really close as the Spartan assumed an early 20-15 lead after the first period. They steadily increased the margin each quarter for an 83-57 final.
Nick Livingston led the balanced Spartan attack with 21 points and nine rebounds. Four other team members scored in double figures in the game: Ethan Powers scored 14 points, Chris Swann scored 13 points, J.R. Kilgore added 12 points and Connor Blevins scored 11 points.
Eastside advanced to championship game with the win to play the winner of Burton vs. Central who played on Friday evening. There were an estimated 1600 people in the Prior Center for this highly anticipated contest.
The Raiders roared out to 16-8 first period lead behind the play of Caleb Williams, Zac Campbell and Houston Thacker. The Raiders also held a 34-26 lead at halftime.
The Warriors responded in the second half, scoring 42 points compared to 25 for the Raiders. They took the 68-59 win behind the one-two scoring punch of Elijah Hayes and Tyler Vanover.
Williams led the Raider scoring with 28 points. Campbell added eight points and Thacker had seven points.
Hayes led the Central attack with 24 points and eight rebounds, followed closely by Vanover with 23 points. Ben Stallard scored nine points with seven rebounds and Landon Elkins scored five points.
The Burton Raiders moved on to the third-place game against Richlands on Saturday afternoon.
The Raiders started slow and trailed Richlands, 15-5 after the first period. They also trailed 28-23 at halftime.
Burton’s Caleb Williams started the game needing only four points to break 1000 points in his career. The Raiders inside game struggled in the first half and Williams scored his 1000th point near the end of the first half.
The Raiders play in the second half cut into the Richlands lead. Burton led 36-34 after three periods. The Raiders fought hard to hang on to the slim lead in the fourth period. The outside shooting by Zac Campbell, Houston Thacker and Trevor Culbertson kept the Raiders in the lead.
The Raiders made the shots and stops down the stretch to hold on for the 50-49 win.
Zac Campbell led the Raider attack with 23 points including five, 3-pointers. Trevor Culbertson and Williams each scored nine points. Thacker scored seven points with seven rebounds.
After four days of play, the stage was set for the championship game, as the Spartans would face the Warriors. In the end after an absolute battle, Eastside walked away with a 65-54 victory.
“It was an ugly game all-around,” stated Eastside coach Patrick Damron. “Central did a good job defensively. Central is athletic and long and they were able to take us out of our offense at times. They are an athletic team that we’ll see. We need games like this.”
“We need to learn to grind out games, we’re not going to score in the 80s every game,” added Damron.
The Spartans got off to a quick start, outscoring Central 23-11 in the first period. Eastside’s Nick Livingston struck first with a 3-pointer from the corner to start the run. They would not trail in the game, although Central did cut the Spartan lead to two points in the second half.
The second quarter saw the Warriors cut the Spartan’s lead to five points to 35-30 at end of the first half.
The third period saw the Central Warriors respond with a run of their own led by Hayes and Vanover. Eastside responded late in the quarter to hold onto their lead but they could not put the Warriors away. Eastside led after three 55-48.
Eastside slowly pulled away in the fourth in the final period with solid free throw shooting to secure the victory.
“Eastside started a lot faster than we did and we had to work our way out of a hole,” said Central coach T.J. McAmis. “We cut it to two and the next thing you know we’re down seven or eight. We made some silly fouls and after that we could not come back.”
“I didn’t think it was the most crisp game from either team. Four games in four days is tough,” added McAmis. “I’m very proud of these guys. Our whole dynamic has changed and you can’t tell it. The casual fan can’t see the hard work by the guys.”
Eastside shot 53% for the game compared to 35% for Central. They also out rebounded Central 35-28 in the win.
Hayes led Central with 14 points. Ben Stallard scored 11 points, Landon Elkins scored 10 points and Tyler Vanover added nine for the balanced attack. Bryson Collins scored five points; Daemai Lester three points and Jordan Bishop scored two points.
Chris Swann led the Spartans with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Ethan Powers scored 17 points and J.R. Kilgore scored 10 points. Livingston scored eight points and Connor Blevins added six points and eight rebounds. Garrett and Grayson Whited each scored two points.
Each team had two players selected to the all-tournament team. Ethan Powers and Chris Swann represented Eastside while Elijah Hayes and Tyler Vanover were selected from Central. Burton’s Caleb Williams was also named to the team. Swann was selected as the tournament Most Valuable Player.