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Auburn denies Eastside berth in Class 1 semifinals

Kevin Mays • Mar 7, 2020 at 10:47 PM

WISE — The Eagles passed the endurance test Saturday.

Ethan Millirons scored a game-high 22 points and Auburn staved off several Eastside runs to take a 57-47 win in the VHSL Class 1 boys basketball quarterfinals at Virginia-Wise’s David J. Prior Convocation Center.

Auburn (21-7) advanced to Tuesday’s state semifinals to face Grundy. The game site and time are still to be announced.

SECOND TIME AROUND

Auburn beat Eastside for the second time this season. The Eagles earned a win over the Spartans in January’s Chance Harmon Classic at Floyd County.

Auburn’s Terry Millirons said the earlier meeting gave his squad a good read on its opponent.

“We’re very familiar with them,” the coach said. “I thought we matched up well with them. Defensively, I think that’s what won the game for us. We had a lot of stops early that frustrated them some.”

PULLING AWAY

The teams were tied at 8 in the early going before the Eagles found a burst. Starting at the 3:27 mark of the first quarter, they went on a 17-9 run to build a 25-17 halftime advantage.

Eastside was left to play catchup.

The Spartans cobbled together runs throughout the second half, getting within a couple of baskets, but they could not overtake the Eagles.

“We’ve been really successful here after Christmas with our defense not allowing other teams to make a run,” Coach Millirons noted. “And when they would make a run, we stopped it pretty quick.”

Eastside got within three points twice in the third quarter, but a basket by Daniel Brotherton put Auburn up by five, 37-32, heading into the fourth. Auburn quickly moved out front by 10 and kept Eastside at bay the rest of the way.

SHOOTING WOES

The Spartans connected on only 30.4% (17 of 56) of their shots from the field and finished 6-for-24 from 3-point range.

“We struggled offensively, there’s no doubt about it,” said Eastside coach Patrick Damron. “We just looked out of sync offensively most of the night. Some of our guys that we depend heavily on, I thought we had open looks, they just didn’t go down.

“That put us in a bind all game as far as defensively. So we’re trying to scramble and pressure a team that’s really good.”

Damron said Ethan Millirons also played a decisive role.

“He took over the game when he needed to,” Damron said. “In the fourth quarter and the second half, they did a really good job of knowing who the best player on their team was. He made shots when he had to and he passed it when he to.”

Grayson Whited led Eastside (18-10) with 13 points. Ethan Powers — who concluded his high school career with close to 1,800 points — finished with 11.

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