Game 1 of the East Metro Showcase featured La Crosse Aquinas vs Eastview. No Johnie Sanders for Eastview, he was in street clothes.
Eastview has a 11-9 lead at 10:40 of the 1st half but a 30-6 Aquinas run over the next 8+ minutes gives them a 39-17 lead with 2:15 to go in the half. Everything falling for Aquinas and nothing going right for Eastview including their zone offense which during the run had struggles with the Aquinas 1-2-2. But Eastview doesn't go away. Spencer Pratt hits a big 3 at the end of the half and Eastview goes into halftime on a 9-2 run, down 41-26.
Carlos Emory starts to dominate early in the 2nd half, but Aquinas still leads 53-43 with 11 minutes to go. Eastview's defense really cranks up in addition to cold Aquinas shooting which leads to a 17-3 run over the next 6+ minutes to give Eastview a 60-56 lead with 4:41 remaining. Late in the game Eastview commits 2 turnovers against Aquinas pressure and that allows Aquinas to tie the game at 62 with 1:25 remaining. Vinard Birch hits 2 FTs with 55 seconds left but Jimmy Whitehead comes back with a basket with 45 seconds left to tie the game at 64. Eastview runs the clock down and Ethan Thomforde has a good look (may have been fouled) but it doesn't go and we have overtime.
In OT, its 68 all when Vinard Birch fouls out trying to stop Jimmy Whitehead on the break after a steal. With 1:28 to go, Whitehead hits the 2 FTs and then with 1:08 left in the OT he gets a steal to give Aquinas the ball back with a 70-68 lead. Kirk Nicklaus and Lucas Morrissey hit 2 free throws each and its 74-68 Aquinas with 40 seconds left in OT. But Spencer Pratt hits 2 clutch 3s and Eastview is only down 75-74 with 9 seconds left. Sam Pederson makes 2 of 2 with 8 seconds left and Drew Johnson attempt to tie is short at the buzzer. Aquinas hangs on for a thrilling 77-74 win.
Ethan Thomforde leads the Lightning with 19 pts. Spencer Pratt with 16. Vinard Birch finishes with 10. Him fouling out in OT was huge as his defense was really disruptive and helped to lead Eastview back. All of Eastview's other guards don't have that same onball defensive ability and Johnie Sanders wasn't available to fill in. For Aquinas, Lucas Morrissey has 15 of his 25 in the 1st half and he always seemed to get a clutch bucket. Jimmy Whitehead was huge as well for Aquinas, he finishes with 22. Zach Rickaway had 16 and it's great to see how his game has evolved from a year ago when he was a role player.