South Gallia Comes Back From 14 Down To Stun Eastern

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It’s always important to get off to a good start. It sets your team up for success throughout the game and serves as a confidence booster for the players and coaches.

However, games are not won by how well a team starts; games are decided by how a team FINISHES.

At the end of the night, the score in the first, second, or third quarter doesn’t matter. All that matters is the final score. In Wednesday’s playoff match-up, the South Gallia Rebels were able to complete a 15-point comeback and defeat the Eastern Eagles 57-55.

At the beginning of the game and for most of the first half it was Eastern who had the hot hand. Coach Jeremy Hill changed his starting lineup by replacing forward Kaleb Hill with forward Mason Dishong which allowed for Eastern to run a couple of new game plans and plays on offense.

The Eagles’ offensive game plan would turn out to be highly effective as it opened up the floor and allowed for Eastern players Isaiah Fish and Colton Reynolds to hit a number of mid-range and three-point shots. By opening the floor the Eagles were also able to collect a number of offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities.

When it came to the defensive side of the ball, Eastern played lock-down defense. The Eagles communicated as a complete unit and were able to force South Gallia into shooting 28% from the field and hold South Gallia star Braxton Hardy to a mere seven first half points. The Eagles would head into halftime with momentum on their side as they lead the Rebels 31-24.

As the third quarter began Eastern continued to stay hot. Isaiah Fish and Colton Reynolds continued to put up points for the Eagles offense while on defense the Eagles were able to continue to contest every shot the Rebels took.

South Gallia would try and switch up their game plan by running their offense almost entirely through Hardy, but Eastern would respond to the change as they held South Gallia to a game low eight points scored in the third quarter. The Eagles would extend their lead to 14 and head into the fourth quarter with a commanding lead of 46-32 over the Rebels.

Going into the final quarter and coming down the home stretch, the game seemed to be in Eastern’s hands. However, let’s not forget one important fact; it’s the playoffs, and with the playoffs comes madness.

With seven minutes left in the game, that’s when the madness for Eastern began.

South Gallia was able to finally find its rhythm.

On defense the Rebels forced 11 Eastern turnovers in the last seven minutes and on offense guard Curtis Haner hit three straight shots from beyond the arch to bring his team all the way back from a 14-point deficit and tie the game 55-55 with 1:14 left in the game.

In the final minute of the game was when the madness reached its peak.

Eastern guard Blaise Facemeyer would draw a charge on South Gallia’s Hardy to give Eastern the ball back with 41.9 seconds left. However, Eastern in return would give the ball right back to South Gallia as the Rebels forced another Eastern turnover, leading them to being able to take the last shot of the game.

This time, South Gallia would learn from their previous mistake as Haner would take the ball at the top of the key, drive past his defender, and make a running layup to give South Gallia its first lead of the game 57-55 with one second to go.

Eastern would attempt a full court pass and Blaise Facemeyer did have a shot at the end of the game but it ended up falling short of rim, giving South Gallia the comeback victory.

Game, set, match, season.

It’s always tough to lose, but it’s even tougher to lose by a game winning shot in a game where in all likelihood the team on the losing end probably should have won.

South Gallia and Eastern both proved that in order to win in the playoffs, you must play four complete quarters of basketball. This team has a bright future and road ahead of them as they return everybody except Kaleb Hill.

However, this is going to be a tough lesson for this young team to learn if they wish to find success in future playoffs. As mentioned before, games are not won by how well you start, but by how you finish.

The Eagles unfortunately had to learn this lesson the hard way.