Eastfield loses in district semifinal

Dwayne Reliford struggles to control the basketball.

ANTHONY ROSADO, Contributor @TheEtCetera

The Eastfield Harvester Bees missed their opportunity to secure an automatic bid to the national tournament, losing 96-92 to Richland on Friday in the semifinals of the South Central District Tournament at North Lake.

“I’m totally upset about it,” Eastfield coach Dexter Young said. “There’s nothing more I wanted than to win a tournament and make it to nationals.”

However, even with the loss, Young is hopeful that Eastfield will receive an at-large bid. The tournament field will be announced at 1 p.m. Wednesday. North Lake went on to win the tournament, and the Blazers will try to defend their title in the national tournament.

The Harvester Bees were leading the semifinal game against Richland 50-35 at halftime and seemed to be in control. But it all went downhill in the second half when they lost that momentum and were outscored 61-42 by the Thunderducks.

“We got comfortable and stopped fighting and stopped putting pressure [on them],” Young said. “They came back fighting. We took the pressure off, and they put the pressure on.”

This is the second time this season Eastfield has lost a lead against Richland. On Feb. 8, the Harvester Bees led 60-52 at halftime and were outscored 57-45 in the second half.

We took the pressure off, and they put the pressure on.

— Dexter Young, head coach

Eastfield struggled to hit shots in the tournament. The team averaged 34.7% shooting from behind the three-point line this season but only shot 25% (6-for-24) against Richland. Their 92-point total was well below their season average of 109.7 points per game.

Forward Dwayne Reliford was the only Eastfield starter in double digits, posting a double-double with 22 points with 14 rebounds. Reserve guard Jacore Williams also had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Tylan Harris added 14 points and Torian Harris had 11.

Young said his team learned a lot during his first season as head coach.

“There’s going to be a lot of adversity,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. But basically, like in a game, every team has runs, and you have to be willing to fight. It’s just learning. The game is more mental than physical, and we have to get stronger mentally.”

Young has his eyes set on the future and is already recruiting the next group of Harvester Bees.

“We’re going to dominate, and I’m saying that to everybody. They know,” he said. “The guys I bring in are just tough.”