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MOUNT WASHINGTON - The last time that Eastside and Zoneton seventh-grade teams had met on the basketball court, it had taken a shot at the buzzer in overtime for the Eagles to pull out a victory.
In the rematch on Thursday in the championship game of the Boys’ Bullitt County Middle School Tournament sponsored by Schmid Funeral Home, the Awards Center and The Pioneer News, there was no need for a lot shot...or overtime for that matter. Putting together its best performance of the season, Eastside led for all but the first three minutes of the game en route to a 55-30 victory.
Eastside came into the tournament with the number one seed and the Eagles finished the season undefeated against Bullitt County foes. Overall, Eastside had a 17-7 mark against a difficult schedule.
The head coach for the seventh-grade Eastside team is former Bullitt Central head coach Mark Rogers who has a son on the team. Former Bullitt East Lady Charger head coach Jerry Troutman is now in charge of the Eastside program and works with all the players.
“We had a lot of different people contribute all year and tonight everybody played well,” Rogers said after the win. “We clicked as a whole unit tonight.”
The veteran coach could not really put a finger on the difference between needing a shot late in overtime to beat a team and then coming back two weeks later and winning by 25 points.
“We just played really well tonight,” Rogers said. “They were ready to play. We felt like we defeated a good team tonight. Zoneton has played well.”
Early in the game it appeared that another tight game was on the slate. Zoneton led 7-4 after Peyton Luttrell drained a three-pointer before Eastside answered with baskets from Luke Ezell, Ryan Roby and Connor Green to take a lead that they would never relinquish.
After Zoneton pulled back within 10-9, Eastside scored the final seven points of the quarter with baskets from each of the three-pronged attack of Ezell, Roby and Green. Those three players ended up scoring 15-, 14-, and 13-points, respectively, in the game.
Eastside pushed the lead to 32-15 by halftime and then kept the ball in the hands of Ezell in the second half when he scored seven points in the third quarter. The smallest player on the court is only a sixth-grader, but he controlled the flow of the game from his point guard position while also scoring 15 points.
Zoneton, under the direction of former North Bullitt standout Jesse Curry, just could not dent Eastside’s 2-3 zone defense and they couldn’t get to the boards for rebounds.
Alex Short led Zoneton with ten points.
The Timberwolves finished the season with a 9-8 record.
Bullitt County Middle School Basketball Tourney ‘B’ final at MWMS
ZONETON 30 (9-6-7-8) Peyton Luttrell 6, Nate Johnson 6, Daniel Dinkins 5, Alex Short 10, Derek Downing 2, Jared Osborne 1, Travis Dunnavan, Bryce Zachary, Trent Wood, Connor Hill, Connor Burton and Dylan Ing.
Coaches - Casey Bannon, Jessie Curry and Travis Ridley.
EASTSIDE 55 (17-15-13-10) Connor Green 13, Grant Skaggs 3, Ryan Roby 14, Alec McGuire 4, Bryan Peak 2, Kaleb Perdew 4, Luke Ezell 15, Steven Peak, Derek Rogers, Colin Vincent, Noah Wilson and Michael Lobred.
Coaches - Jerry Troutman, Mark Rogers and Kevin Ezell.