Evans tops Eastside at Memorial event


Published: Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 12:06 a.m.

Dennis Mavin scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Eastside fell to Orlando Evans, 63-53, in the finale of the second Dante Anderson Memorial Invitational hosted by Eastside and floridaprospects.com.

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Eastside's Dennis Mavin breaks down court with the ball after a turnover by Evans on Saturday night at EHS.

Special photo by Brad McClenny

Mavin was the only player in double figures for the Rams (10-4), who struggled without starting forward Ceasar Wright (twisted ankle) and his 14 points and eight rebound per-game averages.

“He (Wright) is a great defensive player, so we missed that and with the pressure on the younger kids, without that senior leadership that we needed we couldn’t really overcome that,” said Eastside coach Pop Williams. “Evans is a good team, I thought we would have come out and played a lot better. When you are missing a starter that means a lot to the team it is kind of hard to make up that slack in one day.”

Kevin Harden scored a game-high 23 points and collected nine rebounds for Evans (9-3), which led 36-25 at halftime.

Mavin scored eight points in the third quarter to help the Rams, ranked 10th in Class 4A, pull within 43-40 and 47-44. But that would be the closest the home team would get the rest of the night. The Trojans, ranked eighth in Class 6A, outscored the Rams 13-9 in the final period to claim the victory.

Jarrett Gillian, Eastside’s other senior besides Wright, added nine points and six rebounds in the game which concluded the event named for Anderson, the fallen Eastside star who died in a single-car accident on Southwest 13th Street in May 2007. Anderson was a 6-foot-4 swingman who was named the MVP of the FHSAA Class 5A final four in 2006, when as a sophomore, he led the Rams to their only state championship in basketball.

“If he was still living, this would be something he would have liked because Dante was very competitive and he liked to play against top notch competition,” said Williams, who also coaches Anderson’s younger brother, Benji Bell (four points). “This game here he probably would have enjoyed it.”

Prior to the finale, tournament director Robert Sumpter, also the Director of Florida Prospects, introduced Anderson’s mother, Sheila Baker, who briefly addressed the crowd.

In the fourth game of the day, Gainesville got past Orlando Jones, 69-63. Greg Gantt, a Florida Atlantic signee, scored a game-high 29 points to lead the way for the Hurricanes (10-3), Class 5A’s top-ranked club.

Gabe Rutledge ripped down 14 rebounds and Anthony Nwadigo netted 14 points as GHS used a 15-3 run to own a 56-43 lead after three quarters of play. Alden Byrom tossed in 21 points for the Tigers (13-1), Class 3A’s fifth-ranked team.

In the day’s earlier action, Williston fell to Jacksonville Englewood, 53-40. Deonte Welch led the Red Devils with 14 points, while Englewood was paced by Corey Streeter’s 15 points. In the second contest of the five-game event, The Rock rolled past Groveland South Lake 44-22. Vlad Kondratyev scored 15 points, while Scottie Wilbekin followed with 14 points for the Lions (9-3). Homestead South Dade, guided by former Eastside assistant coach John Herron, edged Hawthorne 59-58. Vincent Williams poured in a game-high 23 points, but it was Dontravious Floyd’s tip-in at the buzzer that lifted the Buccaneers (8-4) to the win. Jimmy Johnson’s 17 points and David Pittman’s 15 points led Hawthorne (8-4).

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