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Green rallies late to beat Eastern

FRANKLIN FURNACE – Green just seemed to be out of gas and ideas.

Saturday, December 18, 1999

FRANKLIN FURNACE – Green just seemed to be out of gas and ideas.

When the Eastern Pike Eagles took a 40-25 lead with 5:26 left in the third quarter, the game was all but decided. The Bobcats had scored just 25 points and were showing no signs of progress against the taller Eagles.

The Bobcats went on to outscore the Eagles 44-16 the rest of the way and pull off a come-from-behind Southern Ohio Conference victory 69-56 Friday night behind the 38 point scoring performance of Chris Williams

"We needed someone to step up,and lead us and myself and the other seniors took over," Williams said. "Our crowd keeps us going. They can keep you pumped up when you need it most."

Green hit 17 of 20 free throws down the stretch to ice the win as the Eagles hit just three field goals in the final quarter.

"I thought the key was our defensive pressure on the perimeter, it changed the game and helped even things out a little," Green coach Kevin Lewis said. "Movement can be a problem early in the season. But, for how early it is, I thought we did a nice job of taking care of the ball."

Williams’ 38 points led all scorers and teammate Michael Riffe, seeing his first action of the season, chipped in 13 points. The two guards did more than score, as they led the Bobcats comeback by setting the pace on the defensive end.

"They had a lot of problems with our press and a lot of that came from our pressure on the guards," Lewis said. "Once we got in the flow, we were able to dictate the tempo and force the action."

Green and Eastern traded baskets at the outset and Duston Salisbury gave the Eagles their first lead of the night on a 3-pointer with 3:30 left making it 9-8.

Williams tied the game at 11-11 with his first of three 3-pointers but the Eagles closed the quarter with a six-point run making it 17-13.

Williams again kept the struggling Bobcats close with a steal and a layup that cut the score to 21-15 with 5:40 left in the half.

Eastern then built its biggest lead of the game with a nine-point run. Salisbury had four points during the stretch that caused the Bobcats to call their second time out in minutes.

If Williams was not ready to take over the game then he night have been warming up. He scored all 11 Bobcat points in the second half and for a brief moment made a run at the Eagles himself.

Williams hit a 12-foot baseline jumper, stole the ball and converted a layup and a 3-point play and the next time down court he hit a 3-pointer and was fouled making it a four-point play and cutting the lead to 30-24 with 2:11 left.

Salisbury gave the Eagles breathing room with a pair of short jumpers that made it 34-24 at the half.

Again the Eagles eased ahead by 15 at 40-25 and then the Green full court press kicked in. Riffe and Williams combined for all but two of the Bobcats 19 third quarter points. Riffe cut the lead to 47-43 at the end of the period with a free throw.

The Bobcats had fought forever to catch up and finally got there when Kyle Dyer hit a pair of free throws at the 3:25 mark tying the game at 52-52.

A few minutes later and Williams fast break drive to the basket gave the Bobcats a 56-54 lead with 2:49 left to play.

From that point on Green hit 8 of 10 free throws to finish off the Eagles. Eastern turned the ball over nine times in the fourth quarter and 16 times in the second half due to the Bobcats constant pressure.

Green hit 19 of 48 from the floor for 40 percent and the Eagles hit 25 of 51 from the field for 49 percent.