LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Saturday was a big day for basketball at the Spartan gym in Fairlea, as four games (JV first) were held. The second game of the day was the most anticipated, as the fifth ranked Greenbrier East Spartans hosted the 16th rated South Charleston Black Eagles.
South Charleston (9-4) entered the day on a current seven-game winning streak, including victories over No. 2 George Washington and No. 11 Woodrow Wilson. Quite possibly the hottest team in the state, the Eagles came in confident.
However, with a large home crowd of support behind them, the Spartans scratched and clawed their way to a dramatic 47-46 win, their second 1-point victory over the Black Eagles this season.
After falling behind 10-4 at the midway point of the first quarter, the Spartans (8-4) dug deep and ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Gabe Patton played well and led the run with 5 points, and Goose Gabbert hit a jumper as the period ended.
East led 11-10 after one, and the run did not stop at the buzzer.
The Spartans extended that run to 14-0 following two more buckets from Patton, a 3 and a layup followed by a coast-to-coast steal and score from Monquelle Davis. At that point, East led 18-10 with about five minutes remaining in the half.
Bryson Smith capitalized on a 3-point play for the Eagles to break the Spartan run, but with an Adam Seams jumper and assist to Chris Sinclair, the next possession kept East in control for a 22-15 halftime lead.
Emotions ran high to begin the second half. Seams started the third quarter with a basket, and his next score came in the old fashioned 3-point play variety, but after that bucket he stepped over a South Charlesron defender and taunted him, and Seams was hit with a technical. Christian Gobel converted the freebies, Smith hit two more free throws and a steal, and 3-point play from Najae Jones brought the Eagles within 3 points at 27-24.
Bryson Brammer hit a big 3 to end the third, as the Spartans led 32-26 at the end of three quarters.
The Spartans kept a consistent 3-to-5 point lead the whole last period.
Kaiden Huffman’s hoop, plus the harm score, gave East a 39-33 lead, and then his steal and assist to Gabbert made it 43-38 late in the contest. After South Charleston cut the deficit to one possession at 43-40, Gabbert and Seams hit enough foul shots to keep the Eagles at bay and added another impressive victory to their resume.
Patton was named player of the game. He finished with 10 points — all in the first half — but each basket was critical at the time. Gabbert led East with 13 points.
The Spartans shot 16-of-38 from the field.
South Charleston went 14-for-44 on field goals and were led by Jones’ 20 points. Smith had 13.
East returns to action this Tuesday night, Jan. 31, against the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles. The 1972 state championship team will also be honored.