Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

East Bay boys basketball eyes a better 2014

Anton Crutcher is one of 11 members of the East Bay boys basketball team who will be returning next year. The Indians’ coach says the team will be hungry after being dominated by No. 2 Bartow.

JOHN C. COTEY | Times

Anton Crutcher is one of 11 members of the East Bay boys basketball team who will be returning next year. The Indians’ coach says the team will be hungry after being dominated by No. 2 Bartow.

GIBSONTON — No team wants to end a playoff run with a loss, but falling to the No. 2 team in the state may be a blessing in disguise for the East Bay boys basketball team.

Billy Teeden watched almost helplessly from the bench as the Bartow Yellow Jackets outscored his Indians 47-16 in the second half en route to a 77-39 win Tuesday.

Yet, the fourth-year coach saw the future of his squad in the most unlikely of places: the Bartow Yellow Jackets themselves.

Bartow represents what could very well be the future for East Bay, and if the two teams meet again next season, the outcome could be far different.

That's because eight of the 11 Yellow Jackets will be gone, while the Indians return 11. It's a young nucleus that has already shown greatness through a 21-6 season, and has the potential to do so much more.

For example, in the team's two playoff games, seniors Marcus Wright, James Mellinger, Todd Flournoy, Xavier Williams and Donte Bostic combined for 27 points and 16 rebounds.

The rest of the squad tallied 73 points and 20 rebounds in the two games, including 26 points from three-point master Mike Washington, 18 from M.J. Williams, and a combined 29 points from Anton Crutcher and sophomore Jonathan Jean.

And now that East Bay has had a taste of the state playoffs by making it to the final 16, the Indians are hungry for more.

"That's the thing about this being a young team," Teeden said. "We get to experience that and understand that, and now hopefully we learn from it."

The regional semifinal stage was the largest one yet for the Indians. They proved they could keep pace with one of the state's best teams, down just 30-23 at the half on Tuesday.

Yet, it was experience that pushed the Yellow Jackets out of the gate in the second half to dominate, and it's experience East Bay will look to have on its side next season.

Bartow "made their run like a good team would, and now we know what it takes to come out of a half and be ready," Teeden said.

That means being ready to go when the whistle blows and halting an opponents' momentum before they get on a run.

Losing a tough game could be discouraging, but the Indians insist they still have a lot of fight left. Bartow will be a rallying cry next year.

"We'll use this game as motivation," Teeden said. "If we want to be at a Bartow level, then we have to do what they just did to us. And trust me, we'll be ready."

East Bay boys basketball eyes a better 2014 02/21/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a hockey game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Mikhail Sergachev said he felt comfortable and welcomed in his first day in a Lightning uniform.
  3. Trump welcomes Joe Maddon and World Series champion Cubs to White House

    The Heater

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has welcomed the manager and several players from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs to the White House.

    President Donald Trump, with Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, right, and team members, gives a thumb-up as he meets with the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, Wednesday,  in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. [AP photo]
  4. Lightning re-signs Cory Conacher to two-year deal

    Blogs

    Cory Conacher said he wanted another shot in the NHL, and hoped it would be with the Lightning.

    Cory Conacher on Wednesday signed a two-year deal with Tampa Bay.
  5. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Blake Snell on the mound

    Blogs

    LHP Blake Snell returns to the majors for the Rays tonight after a six-week stint at Triple-A Durham, confident changes to his mechanics will lead to more strike-throwing and an increase in confidence will make him more successful.

    Blake Snell returns to the majors for the Rays tonight after a six-week stint at Triple-A Durham.