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Eagles pull away late to win title

Cosby senior Derrick Norris scored 16 points in Wednesday’s title win, helping earn himself District 2-A tournament MVP honors.
Published: 1:44 PM, 02/20/2014 Last updated: 1:44 PM, 02/20/2014

Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

RUTLEDGE—A solid second half run propelled the Cosby Eagles to the District 2-A championship on Wednesday, as they defeated Hancock County 64-54 at Grainger High School.

With the win, the Eagles will host North Greene on Saturday night in a Region 2-A game at 7 p.m.
Jordan Self paced the Eagles with 17 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Tournament MVP Derrick Norris added 16, as he poured in 14 in the second half. Keenan Phillips also finished with 11 points for Cosby.

“It wasn’t one of our better efforts,” Cosby head coach Brad Flatford said. “I didn’t think we played real well. We played a little better in the second half. For whatever reason, their 2-3 zone gave us fits, and we didn’t do a very good job of guarding in the half court.

“I didn’t think we came out with a lot of intensity. We didn’t execute very well, and give a lot of credit to Hancock County. They played hard and they executed well. In the first half, they wanted the game more than we did.”

The first quarter was back and forth with the Eagles (18-10) holding a 10-5 lead after one. Kyal Clevenger picked up his second foul at the four minute mark and sat the rest of the half, and Cosby continued to settle for outside shots against the zone.

The second quarter was also tight, and the Indians grabbed their first lead of the game during the period.

A three from Kwade Adler with 35 seconds left in the half pushed Hancock County (11-12) in front and they appeared to have the momentum heading into the half. However, Cosby wisely held for the last shot as Jordan Self found Keenan Phillips in the right corner, and he drained a three as time expired. Phillips led the Eagles in points at the half with six.

“I was loud (at halftime), but I’ve been louder,” Flatford said. “We played better in the second half. We executed better. We got some stops when we needed to.

“Give Hancock County some credit. They have gotten better as the year has went on. I thought they played really hard. Mitch (Cantwell) did a good job with them this year.”

After the Indians reclaimed the lead within the first few seconds of the third quarter, it was a 9-0 run during the period that helped the Eagles take control of the game.

A pair of free throws from Self helped push the lead to 39-27 to cap the run, and the Eagles held a 39-29 lead heading into the fourth.

After hitting just a trio of three-pointers in the first half against the Indians zone, the Eagles responded with six in the second half, and it was a big reason they were able to come away with the victory.

“We shot it much better in the second half,” Flatford said. “We had a couple of guys not shoot as well as they usually do. I just really felt like Hancock County wanted the game more. They were out rebounding us, getting three or four shots down here and we were just kind of standing around. That’s not the way we’ve been playing the last few months.

“One of our assistant coaches said this looked like the team we had back before Thanksgiving. That’s the way we were playing. I don’t know what happened tonight. Hopefully we’re getting that out of our system.”

Cosby pushed their lead to as many as 14 during the final eight minutes on a three pointer from Norris.

“Derrick made some big shots, and that was a big three at the top of the key to get the lead to 14,” Flatford said. “He rebounds down here on the other end. He does a lot of different things for us. I thought it was well deserved that he got the Most Outstanding Player because he does a lot of things for us. I’m proud of the way he played.”

The Eagles maintained a double digit lead for most of the rest of the quarter.

Cosby hosts North Greene on Saturday night. The Eagles lost in a regular season matchup to the Huskies, but Cosby was without the services of Kyal Clevenger.

“We have to bring it. We’ve gotten this one out of the way tonight I hope, because if we play like we did (Wednesday) on Saturday night, we’ll be done about 9 p.m.,” Flatford said. “They’re a guard-oriented team. They play really hard. They’re well-coached. We’re going to have to come out and play better than we did (Wednesday).”

COSBY (64): Jordan Self 17, Derrick Norris 16, Keenan Phillips 11, Cody Valentine 7, Bryson Valentine 7, Kyal Clevenger 6

HANCOCK COUNTY (54): Kwade Adler 14, David Way 13, Peyton Miller 13, Branson Holt 12, Kolby Mullins 2

3-Point FG: C (9) Self 4, Phillips 3, Norris, Valentine. HC (4) Adler 3, Miller.

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