Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eagles win East Coast Tip-Off Classic

Augusta Eagles - East Coast Tip Off Classic Champs
***This is a "throwback Thursday" post from 2011.  It was triggered by former GAIS Eagle Matt Miller's recent game winning shot that gave USMMA a 51-49 victory over rival Coast Guard.  Matt made a last second game winner from the same spot on the floor during his junior season in high school.  See the video at the bottom!***

Augusta's Matt Miller capped a furious comeback with a driving layup three seconds before the final buzzer, securing a 57-55 Eagles victory in the championship game of the East Coast Tip Off Classic versus the CVHAA (Richmond, VA) Patriots.  The two teams met after sailing through pool play with two lopsided wins each.  The Championship was played at the Greensboro College Gymnasium in Greensboro, North Carolina.

CVHAA, the tournament's defending champion, dominated the first half.  After the teams traded baskets early, the Patriots 6'6" center Gage Yesback made a driving layup, giving the Patriots a 10-7 lead with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.  Eight minutes later, after Daniel Pittman, another Patriots post player, converted a baseline jump shot, CVHAA held a 28-13 advantage.

With standout forward Benjamin Horner on the bench with two fouls for much of the first two quarters, the Patriots used a balanced scoring attack to gain a 34-20 lead at intermission.  CVHAA scored 25 points in the paint to go along with 3 three pointers during the first two quarters.  The Eagles struggled to make shots.  Austin Crown's 11 first half points prevented the Patriots from completely pulling away.

The Eagles guards found their form during the third quarter, outscoring CVHAA 19-7 in the period.  Matt Miller, Austin Crown, and Zach Miller combined to make four 3 pointers in the quarter, and the Eagles cut the Patriots' advantage to 41-39 heading into the final quarter.

After CVHAA's Daniel Johnson found Timothy Pittman for a layup with 5:00 remaining, the Patriots took a 48-43 lead.  But the Eagles scored 6 consecutive points, and Dominic Brown's fast break layup after an assist from Austin Crown gave Augusta a 49-48 lead with 3:37 left.

CVHAA then scored 7 straight points, including 3 pointers by Ben Horner and Daniel Johnson.  Down 55-49 with 1:05 remaining, the Eagles began an unlikely comeback that included a steal that led to a Matt Miller layup (with an assist from Dominic Brown), a CVHAA technical foul that led to two made free throws, and a floater in the lane by Miller that tied the game at 55 with 53 seconds remaining.

After the Patriots ran the clock down before calling timeout to set up a final play with :10.5 remaining, Augusta's Crown deflected the inbounds pass and tipped the ball to Miller.  Miller then converted a layup on a two on one fast break just before the buzzer sounded.

"The game was certainly intense.  CVHAA is a great team.  We were fortunate to win.  Our players never gave up after having many chances to do so," said Eagles coach Chad Cook.

"I decided to attack the basket and not to stop or pass unless someone got in front of me on that last play," said Augusta's Miller of the game winning basket.

Miller led all scorers with 27 points, including 21 in the second half.  Crown added 22.

Gage Yesbeck paced the Patriots with 12 points.  Daniel Johnson added 11, including three 3 pointers.

The next varsity game for the Augusta Eagles boys basketball team is Saturday, November 12, in Atlanta, Georgia, versus the Georgia Independent School Association's (GISA) 3A defending state champion Mount Vernon.

View the video below for highlights of the East Coast Tip Off Classic championship contest.