EAGLE POINT — With a squad comprised of all upperclassmen and plenty of scoring balance, the Eagle Point boys basketball team could be a dangerous team in the Midwestern League this season.
As Midwestern League play broke ground Tuesday, the Eagles jumped on Crater out of the gates and senior guard Mario Quintero knocked down key free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Comets for the 67-59 win at Eagle Point High School.
“We have a very balanced scoring attack,” said Eagle Point coach Brent McConaghy, whose Eagles are already one win away from equaling their six-win total from a season ago. “If we can play unselfish basketball like (tonight) then we’ll be a tough team to beat in the league.”
Paced by Levi Scott’s 16 points, the Eagles (5-3, 1-0 MVL) had four players in double digits and nine players get into the scoring column.
The Eagles went 7-for-11 from the free-throw line over the final 3½ minutes of the contest to hold off Crater (6-4, 0-1 MWL), which was able to cut its 16-point first-half deficit down to five early in the fourth quarter.
“They did a really nice job of keeping us off balance by switching some things up,” said Crater coach Chris Schmerbach, whose Comets began to catch fire in the third quarter.
The Comets’ top scorer, Kiefer Edwards, was mired by foul trouble in the first half after picking up a pair in the first quarter but was able to break loose in the second half and finished with 17 points along with Mason Vranes, who knocked down four of Crater’s seven 3-pointers.
“Both of them did a nice job at seeking good shots within our offense,” said Schmerbach. "But when you wait as long as we did to execute the style that we want to play, it makes it hard to overcome that kind of a deficit.”
With Edwards and Vranes getting going, the Comets had the momentum early in the fourth but that’s when the Eagles began to lean on Quintero at the charity stripe.
Quintero finished with 12 points and three assists for the Eagles, who also saw Zakk Scott scored 13 points and Jax Bell add 12. Levi Scott added three steals.
CRATER (59): J. Vranes 0, Souza 0, White 8, M. Vranes 17, Horton 3, Muraviov 0, Kramer 0, Dance 4, Ki. Edwards 17, Henderson 2, Johnson 0, Weaver 8, Stollings 0, Ko. Edwards 0. Totals: 23 6-10 59.
EAGLE POINT (67): Nielsen 0, Rodgers 3, Perkins 5, Shopp 0, Hill 0, McHugh 6, L. Scott 16, Z. Scott 13, Gray 2, Quintero 12, Morgan 0, Bell 12. Totals: 23 17-31 67.
3-point goals — Crater 7 (White 2, M. Vranes 4, Horton 1), Eagle Point 4 (L. Scott 1, Z. Scott 3). Fouled out — Henderson. Technical foul — Eagle Point bench.
JV score — Eagle Point 49, Crater 46.
Reach reporter Warren Blenkush at 541-776-4492 or email@example.com