KT logo basketball

WABASH — Just as boys basketball season openers often go, there were many missed shots, lots of loose balls, and some downright sloppy moments at times for both Eastern and Northfield on Tuesday night.

But the Comets hit the shots when they needed to most, came up with the most scrappy plays, and turned the Norseman’s miscues into opportunities at the right times to pull off a 49-39 opening night win.

“It’s good to get that first win, especially on the road,” Eastern coach Mike Springer said. “Really proud of our kids. Northfield caused us some turnovers in the lane and that kept them somewhat in the game. But as the game progressed I felt that we made adjustments to that and got the ball to where we needed to.”

Despite those turnovers, Eastern took the lead early and never relinquished it.

Levi Mavrick hit his first triple of the night to give Eastern a 4-2 lead with 3:48 to play in the opening quarter, and the Comets held it the rest of the way, leading 13-7 at the first stop and expanding that to 24-11 at the half. Eastern’s lead swelled to 21 at 32-11 midway through the third quarter.

Mavrick led a balanced Eastern scoring attack with 16 points. Cayden Calloway scored 14 and Austin Roberts, who didn’t play last year, turned in a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double in his return to the court.

“He’s a strong, athletic kid,” Springer said of Roberts, who made his presence known throughout the game scrapping for loose balls and cleaning the glass. Of his 12 rebounds, five were on the offensive glass.

“Anytime somebody gets 12 rebounds that’s a good night,” Springer said. “They usually show ESPN highlights of that stuff. Those kids made a lot of basketball plays.”

It was Mavrick who lifted Eastern to its early lead with eight first-quarter points, including two triples. From there Calloway netted seven points in the second frame as Eastern broke open the game with an 8-0 run to close the half, turning a 16-11 lead into a 24-11 cushion at the break.

Roberts hit a pair of free throws to start the run and followed that up with a bucket. Calloway then hit two straight baskets as the Comets pulled away thanks to several Northfield turnovers during the stretch. The Norse finished with 24 turnovers, nine of those coming in the second quarter and eight more in the third as the Comets’ lead swelled to 21 on a 7-0 run to open the second half as a Mavrick 3-pointer and two baskets from Roberts gave the Comets the game’s largest lead.

“I was really pleased with how our kids attacked offensively and defensively,” Springer said. “We felt like we could pressure the ball and we did a good job. That really helped us with the lead. We got up to 20 with our defensive pressure.”

Mavrick and Calloway combined to drill seven 3-pointers, with Mavrick knocking down four and Calloway three.

Northfield nearly clawed back in with an early-fourth quarter flurry from Eli Kroh. With Eastern up 36-19 following a Myer Miller basket, Kroh, silent over the first three quarters, hit a deuce, a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer for seven straight points to make it a 10-point game at 36-26.

Kroh would score 12 points in the frame, his final shot coming on a 3-pointer with :22 to play that capped another 7-0 run and got the Norse within 48-39. Out of a timeout following the shot, Northfield couldn’t shave any more off the deficit with so little time remaining.

“We just haven’t really worked on slowing the ball down,” Springer said. “Northfield made some nice plays. [Kroh] didn’t score all night until the fourth quarter. He stepped up and made some plays. [Dillon] Tomlinson is their best perimeter kid and we did not want him to get a good look at the basket.”

Eastern’s defense held Tomlinson to 1-of-9 shooting. Of his nine points, six of those he had to earn at the foul line.

“Defensively, we only gave up 39 points,” Springer said. “The bad side of that is they got 20 of those in the fourth quarter.”

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you