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Late-arriving Drew survives with 54-47 win

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Drew coach Jarrod Davis talks to senior Corey Graves during a first-half timeout in the Titans 54-47 win over Eastside on Friday in the semifinals of the Region 4-AAA tournament.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Drew coach Jarrod Davis talks to senior Corey Graves during a first-half timeout in the Titans 54-47 win over Eastside on Friday in the semifinals of the Region 4-AAA tournament.

Drew coach Jarrod Davis wasn’t sure if it was his team’s rushing to get to the Eagle’s Landing High gym for its region tournament semifinal game, or playing mostly zone as compared to its man-to-man defense that led to Friday’s sluggish play.

Whatever the cause, Davis is just happy his team was able to escape with a 54-47 win over Eastside on Friday in the Region 4-AAA Tournament. With the win, the Titans face defending region champion Eagle’s Landing today in the championship game.

This is a rematch of last season’s region-championship game, which Eagle’s Landing won at Drew.

Davis is just pleased that his team surived against Eastside, a team it had swept during the regular season.

“We were rushed in getting here,” Davis said. “We thought we left the school in time, but the traffic on the interstate was bad. We got off the bus and ran straight onto the floor. Once we got into the game, we developed some type of flow.”

The Titans, who are ranked No. 5 in the state, built leads against Eastside, but ended up fighting off Eagles rallies in the second half.

Davis was pleased with the team’s balanced attack that featured eight players scoring. Derrick Frye and Barry Mayes led the way with nine points each. Rufus Brown finished with eight.

“That is very encouraging when you get a lot of kids scoring,” Davis said. “Everybody was really into the game. It is a good night, because everyone contributed.”

Davis was disappointed in his team’s free-throw shooting as the Titans were only 9 of 17 from the line.

Because he was concerned about Eastside’s guards, Davis had his team play more zone defense, which at times saw the players just standing around. Eastside had two players to get into double figures in Ben Miller with 13 points and Anthony Henderson with 11.

Drew players said making the defensive adjustment was tough.

“We are use to playing man defense,” Mayes said. “We really couldn’t get loose in the zone.”

Mayes said the team is looking forward to the rematch with Eagle’s Landing, the second-ranked team in the state. The teams split this season, with each winning on its home court.

“We are ready to play,” Mayes said. “We have to be on our toes the rest of the way.”