COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Senior night for the Eastmoor Academy Warriors was a disappointment as they fell to South 36-33. The win brings South to 5-1 on the season while the loss drops Eastmoor to 1-5 overall in what is really a season of tough luck for coach Miranda’s bunch.
On a night that celebrated the senior class of Eastmoor, and in an offensive struggle of a game, it was freshman Maurice McCall who controlled the game and gave the Bulldogs a boost for the victory. McCall ended the game with seven points, nine rebounds, a steal, block and a couple of assists to fill up the stat sheet.
The Bulldogs started the game scoring six straight points and looked like they were going to run away and hide. Junior Aaron Lawson hit a mid range jumper to put Eastmoor on the board. Sadly, that was all the scoring to be done in the quarter as South had the lead at 6-2 entering the second frame.
When the second quarter started, DeSean Pollard hit a shot to go up 8-2. Eastmoor then went on a 14-6 run to end the half up 16-14. Senior Gabe Oduro scored all of his six points and grabbed a steal in the frame to lead the Warrior comeback. Senior Maurice Barnes scored six in the first half for the Bulldogs to pace them.
After the intermission, senior Larenz Lacking hit the first shot of the third to give the Warriors a four-point lead, the biggest lead they had all evening. South fought back and took the lead until Barnes picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter.
Once Barnes hit the bench, senior Deon Thorpe caught fire and scored seven points in the period. The senior’s efforts weren’t enough to keep the Warriors' lead as they went into the fourth down 27-25.
In what was an interesting final period, one in which the visiting team never relinquished the lead, the Bulldogs almost pulled away from the Warriors until a runner in the lane from Lawson tied the ball game at 33 with 1:10 left.
A basket from senior Shermar Lindsey, that he may or may have meant to make, then put the Bulldogs up 35-33. After a missed runner from Lawson, it was the freshman McCall who stepped up and drained one of two free throws for a three-point lead over Eastmoor.
Thorpe had a chance to send the game into overtime but a desperation shot from the volleyball line rimmed in and out to break the Warriors hearts and seal the win for South.
Thorpe led all scorers with 10 points in what was a truly gritty game. Eastmoor will finish its regular season on the road against Briggs and South will have a chance at the City League South division crown as they host Africentric on Monday.
Maurice McCall (6’2 G / South / 2024): This young man is beyond his years in every intangible way. He’s cooler than sipping a milkshake in a snowstorm on the court, always seeming relaxed with the ball in his hands and making the correct decision consistently. He got the Bulldogs into their offense all night, showing the qualities of a pure point guard while never getting sped up despite being guarded by older players. It seemed like he played every minute of the game, and he did it all while only picking up one foul, playing solid defense and not letting ball handlers around him. McCall’s nine rebounds are not only impressive for a freshman, but for any point guard. He showed great awareness of where the ball will land along with great explosiveness and strong hands to grab boards in traffic. Maurice McCall is not only the next great South High School point guard, but he will be the next great Columbus City League point guard.
Shermar Lindsey (6’4 F / South / 2021): The big man for the Bulldogs was huge in the second half, scoring all eight of his points in the third and fourth frame. He was nice on the glass, getting a putback layup in the third quarter and he knocked down a triple to show his range. His basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter put his team up by two then his interior presence slowed up the next possession for the Warriors. The senior has nice feet and can move really well laterally for a guy his size. On a night where only one person on either team scored in double-digits, Lindsey was instrumental in making things hard all night at the rim for driving Eastmoor guards and the Warrior bigs who tried to body him up.
Deon Thorpe (5’10 G / Eastmoor Academy / 2021): His third quarter surge allowed his team to feel good about themselves, gain some confidence and even take the lead in the game. Thorpe was more aggressive than usual, which was a pleasant sight, taking smart shots all night. The three-pointer he drained was from deep and it highlighted the kind of shooter he can be. Thorpe is a good small guard with a solid, muscular frame and a nice handle of the ball. He is shifty and can get to the basket pretty consistently where he finishes among the trees in the paint. Deon had a solid high school career at Eastmoor and is a young man who is extremely nice and well spoken.