By Carey Phillips
East Henderson outscored Smoky Mountain 16-2 in the final five minutes last Thursday to rally for a 50-45 Mountain Seven Conference men’s basketball victory at the SM gym.
Caiden Brewer scored 19 points for the Eagles, and Wyatt Taylor had 11.
Jayce Stillwell and Matthew Brown paced the Mustangs (6-10, 1-5) with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
“They played well enough and hard enough defensively to win,” Coach Jimmy Cleaveland said of his players. “I did not manage the game very well as a coach. That loss is on me. I’ve got to do better than that.”
SM led 43-34 on Stillwell’s three-pointer at the 5:52 mark but managed just two points the rest of the way.
Brewer led the closing charge for the Eagles with seven points. His driving basket with 53 seconds left gave them the lead for good at 47-45.
The Mustangs led throughout the first period and were up 10-6 when Brown scored inside with 4:10 on the clock.
The margin was 11-10 at the quarter break.
East went ahead for the first time on Tyler Adams’ fast break layup to start the second quarter. That was the first of eight lead changes in the period.
Stillwell hit a three-pointer with nine seconds left giving SM a 25-23 halftime edge.
The Mustangs extended the margin to 32-25 when Stillwell scored with 3:27 to play in the third quarter, and they were up 35-32 going into the final period.
Four of Stillwell’s five field goals were three-pointers. Brown made six field goals and a foul shot.
Sawyer Snider added seven points, Cameron Fowler scored five, and Jed West and Carson Seagraves both had three.
The Mustang JVs fell to 1-12 with a 71-33 loss. After a 10-10 first quarter tie, East led 41-22 at halftime and 60-26 through three periods.
SM’s Ben Brown had 18 points.
“We got in a little bit of foul trouble, which hurt us,” Coach Jerrod Boone said. “We don’t have a whole lot of depth. We ended up turning the ball over in the second quarter. When you leave good shooters open they knock shots down. They made their little run, and we didn’t have an answer for it. The shots didn’t fall, and we didn’t execute very well. We had a few too many turnovers, but I thought our kids competed and played hard. Our goal is to keep competing and getting better every day, and they keep working.”