Tomcats show promise in loss to Eastern

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The Trimble Tomcats looked to get into the win column Friday night, but ultimately fell to the Eastern Eagles 49-36. The Tomcats were coming off a 7 day layoff, with their last game being an opening loss to the Alexander Spartans.

While the Tomcats lost Friday night, they still showed clear signs of improvement. After turning the ball 25 times in the opener, Trimble cut that number by 10, and finished with only 15. Tomcats coach Curt Moore wasn’t taking any moral victories, however.

“Only 15? That’s about 7 too many.”

 Cyrus Jones and Konnor Standley stabilized the backcourt, however, and Jones in particular turned in a strong performance. Cyrus “The Virus” was knifing through the lane, using a hop step move expertly to create space and throw the defense off-balance, which allowed him to find Cody Bragg down low to give the Tomcats easy buckets.

Those easy buckets were definitely at a premium, however. The Tomcats really struggled from the outside, shooting only four of 18 from three, and 16 of 53 overall. The Tomcats also struggled at the line, finishing only two of 11. Assistant Coach Ruben Kittle explained that the free throw struggles really hurt the Tomcats.

“Well that changes the whole game. If we hit some of those free throws, we don’t have to foul in the fourth, and the game stays close.”

However, the Tomcats are able to take a lot away from the game. Injured Jacob Koons made his return and contributed with gritty play. Cody Bragg continues to grow as a presence on the inside, pulling down eight rebounds to go with his eight points, and even though Konnor Standley had a rough game from the field, he still was able to play tough defense and harassed the Eagles’ offense into several turnovers.

Despite the positives, the Tomcats weren’t able to overcome the contributions of Max Carnahan, who dominated from the wing and lived at the foul line. He finished with 17 points and six assists, and went seven of nine from the free throw line. The Eagles didn’t hit a three, but pulled away with stingy defense and ball control offensively.

Many Eagles possessions seemed to last forever, and they kept swinging the ball around until they found the shot they wanted. The Tomcats were able to get into the lane, but with their lack of outside shooting, the Eagles simply packed the inside and forced Trimble to score over two or three Eastern defenders during every trip into the paint.

The game was close after three quarters, with the Tomcats trailing 25-32, but they were not able to close the gap in the fourth and the Eagles hit their free throws late to increase the score differential as the game closed. Eastern finished 13/18 at the line, and their sharpshooting from the charity stripe proved to be too much for the Tomcats.

The Tomcats (0-2) don’t get much of a break, as they host the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes tomorrow, December 10. The Eagles (3-0) next play on December 13 against Federal Hocking.