Homecoming is traditionally a festive event, but the Elliot Christian Eagles took things to another level with an exciting 75-70 victory Friday over the Stockton Christian Eagles.
Nearly two minutes expired in the first quarter before Ryan McGladdery scored Elliot's first basket as the Eagles managed only 10 first quarter points and found themselves in an unexpected fight.
Things didn't look much brighter in the second quarter as Stockton Christian started the period with two consecutive three-point shots from guard Chris Rozalez and took a 31-24 lead into halftime.
The Eagles found themselves in an even larger hole as Stockton's Justin Johnson grabbed one of his 16 rebounds and scored two of his game-high 18 points midway through the third quarter to give Stockton a 45-35 lead.
Sparked by great defensive pressure and key steals from guard Chris Kimble, Elliot ended the quarter with a 10-0 run to knot the game at 45.
Matt Darby's jumper to start the fourth quarter capped off a 12-0 run by Elliot that gave the home Eagles the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter.
"We've fought all year and we knew we couldn't afford to lose this one," said Elliot head coach Mark Cook.
Both teams exchanged baskets until McGladdery, who finished the game with 16 points, hit his second three-point shot. It was followed by Kimble's acrobatic layup that pushed Elliot's lead to 68-61 with 1:40 remaining.
Stockton didn't back down as it scored five quick points to cut the lead back to two, but it didn't come any closer.
Johnathan Koehler's layup sealed the victory for Elliot, which improved to 12-5 overall and 6-1 in Mountain Valley conference play.
"We're looking forward to Calvary now, we feel we are ready for the challenge," Cook said.
Elliot takes on Calvary Temple on Friday.
Matt Keil added 13 points and five rebounds for Elliot, which outscored Stockton 19-6 from the free throw line.
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