BECKLEY (WVDN) – Goose Gabbert hit a deep 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds left, and the long-distance bucket proved to be the game-winning shot, as the Greenbrier East Spartans defeated the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles 59-58 on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Armory in Beckley.
With a large and rowdy crowd on hand, the win gives the Spartans a huge boost heading into the holiday and new year over the next couple of weeks.
East dug themselves a big hole early on, as Beckley jumped out to a 5-0 lead then a couple minutes later went ahead 11-4 after a basket from Brayden Hawthorne. A Coby Dillon 3-pointer would then extend the Eagles’ lead to 14-4, but Adam Seams quieted the crowd with a steal and dunk on the next possession. However, Beckley continued to answer and play well, and with an Elijah Redfern score and B. Hawthorne layup, Woodrow led 22-10 after the first quarter.
Monquelle Davis led the Spartans early in the second period with a free throw and a nice layup, but shortly thereafter Davis went down with an injury and would not return.
Two Bryson Brammer threes midway through the second seemed to turn the tide in the Spartans’ favor. He cut the deficit to just five points at 24-19, and that deficit stayed at just six points, 31-25 at halftime.
Dillon hit a big 3 that gave Beckley a 36-27 lead, but Gabbert hit a short floater, then made a beautiful up-and-under reverse layup, and East trimmed the Woodrow lead to 36-31.
At the end of three, Beckley still led 44-41, but momentum swung to the Spartans as Jude Libby hit a 3 at the buzzer.
The final quarter of play is one Spartan fans will remember for a while.
Seams hit a trifecta and then converted two free throws to tie the contest at 46-all early in the fourth. A few possessions later, Gabe Patton hit a 3 that gave the Spartans a 49-48 lead, their first of the game.
But the Eagles would never stop fighting. After a Gabbert 3-pointer put the Spartans up 52-50, Dillon and Redfern hit two straight from downtown to put Beckley up 56-52 with under four minutes left.
With about a minute left, the Eagles had a chance to ice the game and get their first victory over the Spartans since early last year, but B. Hawthorne missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, which allowed East’s Kaiden Huffman to score 2 on the other end. Then, the other Hawthorne brother, Zyon, missed a front end as well.
That is when the Spartans found Gabbert for his dagger 3 to win the game in historic fashion for East. The Spartans celebrated on the Eagles’ home floor.
Gabbert was named the Player of the Game and had a game-high 21 points. Seams added 15 for East.
Redfern led Beckley with 17 points.
East is now 2-1 on the season. Beckley starts 2022-23 0-1.
The Spartans will travel to Princeton on Tuesday, Dec. 20.