0

Eagle's Landing overcomes 'stall ball' for win

Photo by Jason Mussell
Eagle's Landing guard Isaiah Dennis throws down a windmill dunk for two of his game-high 15 points in the Golden Eagles' 39-13 win over Albany on Wednesday.

Photo by Jason Mussell Eagle's Landing guard Isaiah Dennis throws down a windmill dunk for two of his game-high 15 points in the Golden Eagles' 39-13 win over Albany on Wednesday.

MCDONOUGH — If nothing else was accomplished in Eagle’s Landing’s first-round Class AAAA tournament game against Albany Wednesday, it served as a ringing endorsement for something new to be added to Georgia high school basketball.

“We need a shot clock,” Golden Eagle’s coach Clay Crump said following his team’s 39-13 victory over visiting Albany, which advanced his team to the second round to host Perry on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

It wasn’t the prettiest example of basketball you’ll ever see, and not because of the way the two teams played, but rather the way that they didn’t.

In the third quarter, Albany’s point guard held the ball and remained motionless just beyond the halfcourt line for almost three minutes on two different offensive possessions. As a result, the 29-12 lead that Eagle’s Landing built going into halftime was the exact same score at the end of the third quarter.

Despite the irritating pace, Crump said he was happy about how his bunch handled it.

“That’s something that could really get you frustrated,” Crump said. “But we were able to cause some turnovers with our trap and build enough of a cushion to where if they wanted to hold it the entire third quarter we felt they wouldn’t be able to catch up with us.”

Albany made it clear that they wanted to play keep away with the bigger, more athletic Golden Eagles. And in the first quarter, that strategy seemed to work well, as the Indians found themselves facing just a 9-7 deficit going into the second quarter.

That’s when Eagle’s Landing began turned up the defensive pressure with a full court trapping press which forced Albany into seven turnovers in the second quarter. The miscues led to multiple transition baskets as Eagle’s Landing went on a 20-5 run to close out the half.

Isaiah Dennis put the exclamation point on the run with a windmill dunk for two of his game-high 15 points. He also had three steals for the Golden Eagles.

The Indians would add just one more point — from a free throw — the rest of the night, as Crump pulled his starters shortly after the third quarter slowdown. Crump said the best part of this game was that it was over and his team could move on.

“It’s not fun,” he said. “We practice to play basketball, not to play catch. It’s kind of an admition from the other team that they don’t really want to play with us, and we understand they probably did what they thought was best to give them a chance.

“We’ve faced the stall ball tactic twice this year and overcome it. So that gives us confidence that if we face it again where a team’s actually making their shots, we can be able to handle it.”

Albany ends its season at 10-12 with the loss. Maurice Green chipped in with seven points and two steals for Eagle’s Landing. Tyler Cheese led the Indians with seven points.