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February 20, 2014

Hot start lifts Eastern past Maconaquah

Comets subdue Braves with 18-0 lead out of the gate.

GREENTOWN ­– Talk about a hot start.

Eastern bolted to an 18-0 lead against visiting Maconaquah Wednesday night and never looked back, leading throughout in a 64-49 Mid-Indiana Conference win.

The Comets (3-12, 2-3) shot a sizzling 64 percent in the first half – including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc – on the way to a comfortable 37-20 lead at the half. For the game, coach Mike Springer’s squad shot 54 percent (21-of-39) overall and 62 percent (8-of-13) from downtown.

“We knew they were going to come out in a zone and we’ve been practicing moving the ball against a 1-2-2 and a 2-3,” Springer said. “We did a really, really good job of playing from the inside out tonight. Most of our 3’s were the result of a post man catching the ball in the lane and finding an open man.”

Noah Cope finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting. The junior was 4-of-6 over the first 16 minutes including 2-of-3 from 3-land. Braden Gibson knocked down 5-of-7 first half 3-pointers, including three in the first frame, on the way to 19 points in the game.

“That got us off to a good start,” Springer said. “At the same time, defensively, when you can hold a team to zero points as long as we did, that’s a great start. I just felt like, defensively, we were really focused and knew what we wanted to do.”

Maconaquah (4-11, 0-6) didn’t light up the scoreboard with its first points until a pair of Luke Hann free throws with 1:05 to play in the first period. The Braves first field goal came with :03 remaining in the quarter as they ended up trailing 18-7 at the first stop.

“You’ve got to give it to Eastern how aggressively they came out and just took it to us,” Mac coach Andy Steele said. “We’re in the locker room motivated, ready to play. We come out, our warm-ups look good and we’re getting each other pumped up. As soon as the opening tip goes up, I’m at a loss for words from there. I don’t know what to do from that point on. We’re doing everything we can, but we just fell apart at the seams.”

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