Eastside's Mavin shines

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 11:09 p.m.

He may be a sophomore all of his friends and family call "Junior", but Dennis Mavin played like a veteran senior Friday night.

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Eastside's Dennis Mavin drives past Gainesville's T.J. Hall at Santa Fe Community College on Friday.

Brandon Kruse/The Gainesville Sun

The Eastside point guard had team highs with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the Rams evened the season series with a 62-55 victory against Gainesville High School in front of a near-full Santa Fe Community College gym crowd.

"He's playing a lot more aggressively and under control this year than last," Hurricanes' coach Tony Wise said. "He really got the ball up against us.

"With him a lot of times how he does depends on if he is hitting his shots. He did that here against us."

The Eastside victory creates a virtual tie atop District 4-5A between GHS, the Rams and Columbia, all of whom have two losses in district play with each having split the season series with the others.

If, as expected, Eastside (13-6, 9-2) and Columbia win out in district play against the 4-5A lower-half teams, the Hurricanes (12-7, 10-2 and already finished in the district) likely will end up the No. 3 seed in the 4-5A tournament in two-and-a-half weeks at Leesburg High School.

So, the victory was huge for the Rams.

"Going 1-1 against them will make the kids feel good," Eastside coach Pop Williams said. "We're going to see (GHS) again hopefully in the district tournament and we'll go in with more confidence now."

The Rams were offensively challenged in the first meeting between the teams two weeks ago, and Eastside was defeated 52-42.

It was a different story this time around, as the Rams surpassed that losing point total in the first half, taking a 44-32 lead into the lockerroom. And they did it with balance, as nine Eastside players scored in the first two quarters despite Mavin leading everyone with 12 points.

However, the Rams' offense disappeared in the third, as Eastside scored just three points, all on free throws. And after T.J. Hall stroked a 3 on the first basket of the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes had come back to take a 49-47 lead.

But the Rams answered with a 14-3 run, highlighted by a dunk from Ty Armstrong off a no-look pass from Mavin. And GHS couldn't answer this time.

Wise, who got a game-high 22 points out of junior guard Greg Gantt, was quick to credit Williams.

"Our games against each other are always competitive," Wise said. "One thing you can always count on Pop's teams doing is playing hard. You can't just show up and beat Eastside.

"Pop doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's been to more final fours than any other coach in the area, has won a state title (in 2006), and year-in, year-out always gets it done.

"A school couldn't ask for any more from a coach."

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