Eastfield advances to tournament final

Anthony McGee powers through Mountain Views defense for a layup as the Harvesters defeated the Lions in the MAC tournament semifinal. Photo by Willie R. Cole/The Et Cetera
By JULIO VEGA
@JulioVegaETC

A shaky first half didn’t deter the Harvesters as they rallied to defeat Mountain View 91-86 in the Metro Athletic Conference semifinal. They’ll face North Lake, the defending national champions, in the championship match, to be played at Eastfield’s gym Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Blazers defeated Richland 75-72 in the semifinal match prior to Eastfield’s.

The hosts trailed for much of the first period, eventually going down by eight, with the Lions taking a 42-34 lead into halftime. Eastfield coach Anthony Fletcher said things didn’t click for the team.

“We didn’t rebound the ball like we should have,” he said. “Next thing is we couldn’t our shots first half. We had to go back, run some new plays … and we attacked the zones.”

In the second half, Eastfield sped up play and pressed defensively to limit Mountain View’s build up. Eastfield slowly cut the deficit, finally taking the lead at 59-56 nine minutes into the second half. From there, several defensive fouls between both teams in a physical matchup.

Both sides shared the lead throughout the second half. With just under five minutes to play, Eastfield extended their lead to 77-71, interrupting the Lion’s momentum as they looked to come back.

Sophomore guard JJ Murray finished the night with 21 points, leading the scoring at the half with 15. Freshmen DaJuan Ridgeway notched 18, all in the second half, sealing the win with a dunk in the final minutes.

In conference play, North Lake and Eastfield split head-to head and both games went into over time. Eastfield won the first game 101-85 and North Lake won the next 72-71.

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