Skyline boys basketball beats Eastlake 75-61
January 17, 2013
By Lillian O'Rorke
School spirit was running high Jan. 8 in the Eastlake Wolves gym. On one side of the bleachers Eastlake High School students stood cheering and dancing in place along with the cheerleaders. Several seats down a crowd of Skyline High School students, dressed in tropical garb, raised their voices for the Spartans.
It was the season’s only matchup between Eastlake’s and Skyline’s boys basketball teams and after 32 minutes of pounding the hardwood, the Spartans had secured a 75-61 win.
The Wolves started on top, hitting shot after shot in the first few minutes of the game for a 9-0 run.
After Skyline coach Maui Borden called a time out, the Spartans returned to the court and battled back. Both teams rallied with several 3-point shots each, bringing the final first quarter score to 23-20 in favor of Skyline.
“We were just letting them fly. I like playing like that; I like chucking up a bunch of threes,” said Eastlake’s senior guard, Brandon Lester. “Skyline-Eastlake is a good rivalry so we were just really hyped and really excited. So we came out with a lot of energy and we put it on them – but then we stopped.”
The Spartans opened it up in the second quarter, outscoring the Wolves 17-9 to put an 11-point deficit between the two plateau teams at the half.
“We got out to the shooters on defense, got rebounds and then hit our shots on offense,” said Skyline junior wing/post Blake O’Brien. “It’s just a rivalry now, since we only play them once a year. It’s even more of a battle out there since the divisions got switched.”
The Wolves attempted to close the gap in the third quarter, outshooting the Spartans 20-18. Helping to put Eastlake on the board was Jacob Davidson, who made two consecutive buckets early on before shooting a 3-pointer.
Lester added to the score when he broke away for a half-court layup.
Skyline maintained its lead though, always staying at least eight points ahead of Eastlake. Cedric Cooper, a senior at Skyline, fired a 3-pointer to start off the fourth quarter, jumping his team out to a 61-49 lead. The Spartans continued down their winning track with sophomore Matisse Thybulle landing a shot from behind the 3-point line, followed closely by a 2-point field goal.
Leading Skyline in scoring was O’Brien with 22 points. Jonah Eastern followed with 15; Cooper totalled nine; Thybulle scored seven ; Hunter Cikatz and Addison McGirvin each had six; Devin Benford put four points on the board and Chris Bench, Collin Crisp and Thomas Hanan put up two each.
Shooting for Eastlake was Brandon Lester with 23 points; Davidson with 12; Mike Hwang scored nine; Connor Perry made seven and Kyle Laubscher, Jordan Lester, Mason Pierzchalski, Mike Staudinger and Davis Woerner all had two points each.
“Today our guys were just willing to work very hard. And you can see it on the floor. You can see it in the way, even on the bench – the energy on the bench. Guys that weren’t getting in the game at all were so engaged, so dialed in,” said Maui. “It was a good win. Hopefully we’ll use this as a catalyst to be able to keep it going.”
For Maui it wasn’t just a good night because his team improved its overall season record to 5-7, but also because it was a homecoming of sorts. For the last four years the now head-coach at Skyline was an assistant coach under Eastlake’s coach Brian Daily.
“I give respect where respect is due. Coach Daily, a lot of the stuff I learned, I learned from him. He’s a tremendous guy, and those guys love playing for him,” said Maui, adding that he was in a good place when he left Eastlake to challenge himself as a head coach. “They all know I love them. There was no animosity; there was nothing. It was pure joy. In the back of my mind when Eastlake made a play there was a sense of pride there because they are my guys, too, and they always will be.”
The feeling was mutual for at least one of Maui’s former players.
“I would sometimes look over at him cause he’d be yelling at them because I’m used to him talking, or coaching us,” said Brandon Lester. “I love Maui. It was just a good time, seeing him coach. He’s a good coach and it was just fun playing against him.”