Green can’t find range in loss to Eastern

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2000

ATHENS – Chris Williams made one of his patented swift moves, smacked the ball loose, scooped it up and raced toward his own basket.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000

ATHENS – Chris Williams made one of his patented swift moves, smacked the ball loose, scooped it up and raced toward his own basket.

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He laid the ball softly on the glass and watched as the ball kissed off the backboard, rolled around the rim, then dropped off the side and into an opponent’s waiting hands.

And so it went. Time after time, the Green Bobcats put up a shot, then watched futilely as it failed to pass through the cylinder.

Unable to buy a basket, the Bobcats shot a meager 32.2 percent from the field and lost 63-51 to the Beaver Eastern Eagles Tuesday in the Division IV district semifinals.

"It seemed like we were at the bottom of the hill looking up," Green coach Kevin Lewis said. "They got off to an extremely hot start and we got off to an extremely cold start.

The Bobcats forced the Eagles into 29 turnovers. But the 19 of 59 shooting performance negated the defensive work.

"Defensively we got things done. We forced turnovers but we couldn’t finish. The ball just wouldn’t go in the basket. And their inside game hurt us. The rebounding job they did on us was a big part of the game," said Lewis.

Eastern’s inside game was led by 6-foot-5 junior Matt Hines who had 27 points and eight rebounds. He was 12 of 16 from the field.

Roberto Casto had 14 rebounds to go with eight points as Eastern held a commanding 33-21 rebounding advantage.

Green (16-5) was led by Michael Riffe with 19 points. Alex Poe had 14 points and nine rebounds while Williams finished with 13.

"We told the kids they did everything we asked of them to do," said Lewis. "They played hard and they hung in there. It would have been easy for them to hang their heads. I told them I was proud of their effort."

Eastern (15-7) will now play Whiteoak at 2 p.m. Saturday in the district finals.

The Eagles jumped in front 16-9 the first quarter by making 7 of 10 field goal attempts. Green was just 3 of 14 in the opening stanza.

Costa’s baseline jumper and a layup by Hines extended Eastern’s lead to 20-9 to begin the third quarter.

Riffe hit a 15-footer and two foul shots to draw Green within 20-13, but a 3-pointer by Kevin Greene put the lead back at 10.

A three-point play by Hines with 1:58 left in the half put Eastern in front 30-17. A 3-pointer by Williams with 35 seconds on the clock made it 31-22 at the half.

Back-to-back layups by Poe to open the second half got Green within 31-26 at the 7:31 mark. Hines hit a short baseline jumper and Dustan Salisbury came right back with a 3-pointer and the lead was back at 10. Costa’s follow up shot made it 42-28 and Eastern maintained the 12-point lead as the third quarter ended at 46-34.

Riffe’s 3-pointer with 3:43 to play cut the Eagles lead to 52-44. But Hines hit a layup 13 seconds later and another with 1:45 left as the lead shot right back to 56-44.

Eastern had 11 turnovers alone in the fourth quarter, but Green could convert only 6 of 22 floor shots.

Green, the Southern Ohio Conference champion, split with Eastern during the regular season. Green won 69-56 at home, then lost at Eastern 60-59.

"It hurts to lose, but we’ll take a couple of days to recover and then go to work and get our younger kids to step up," said Lewis. "Our first goal is always to win the league. We call the tournament the bonus season."

Lewis had nothing but praise for seniors Kyle Darnell, Williams, and Riffe.

"We have three outstanding seniors. They did a lot of leading by example. The effort they gave us, not just in games but in practice as well, will be hard to replace. They’ve done a lot for this program," said Lewis.