East comes alive to win fourth straight

Ethain Clarke-Desouza (School Of The Arts) and Clinique Jackson (East) battle for a rebound. (PHOTO: JOHN LIKANJE)

By JOHN LIKANJE

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Eight months ago, East High head coach Darrell Barley came up short in his first sectional final loss in seven appearances. With most of his core back from a 22-win campaign, Barley and his squad are determined to go back to the Blue Cross for another crack at the block. The Eagles advanced one step closer to their goal Wednesday night, defeating School of the Arts, 77-54, for their fourth straight double-digit victory to open the season.

Zechariah Harris-Scott scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Eagles exploded for a 22-3 run spanning back to the second period to take a commanding 44-21 advantage.

“Second half, we ramped up the defense,” Barley explained as his squad forced 11 missed field goals and three turnovers during the run. “We really wanted to pressure their guys. Take away the middle. When we started doing that, that’s when we saw the score go from seven to 20 or more.” 

Harris-Scott finished five layups and slammed down an emphatic dunk as his teammates constantly fed him the rock in the paint.

“What we did was really trust each other,” the senior forward explained. “Making sure that we really stick together. That’s what gave us that big run.”

“There was a big disadvantage as far as height,” Barley said about Harris-Scott. “But he stepped it up in the second half. A lot of dunks. He even had some assists. We wanted to go inside and establish that first.”

Damani Barley knocked down a three-pointer and a dunk. Kaori Barley and Kai McCullough made a layup apiece as the Eagles extended their four-point margin to a 28-point cushion.

“We shot the ball better and played a little bit more as a team,” Coach Barley said. “We had a lot of alley-oop dunks. A lot of breakout dunks. I think that kind of took the wind out of their sails a little bit.”

Harris-Scott connected on 6-of-9 foul shots – all in the opening period – and swatted five shots.

“Once they kept feeding it inside, they just had me go to work,” the senior forward said.

Damani Barley scored all 11 of his points in the second half and dished out eight assists. Justus Ross-Simmons stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 12 boards, 4 steals and three blocks. Clinique Jackson swished a pair of three-pointers en route to seven points and handed out six assists.

Kaori Barley netted six points and swiped three steals.

McCullough (7), Corey Ellis (5), Freddie Brock (4) and Desmond Williams (2) rounded out the scoring for the Eagles.

For School of the Arts, Ethain Clarke-Desouza came alive for 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. The junior guard netted 9-of-10 free throws as well.

Logan Hayes scored seven of his nine points in the final period. Keshaun Chatman added eight. Loral Dillard (7), Reggie Smith (4), Ke’Vion Mitchell (2) and Rajon Moss (2) rounded out the scoring for the Silverhawks.

East will host Monroe for its home opener Friday evening. School of the Arts travels to NE Douglass on Friday as well. Both games will tip off at 6:15 p.m.    

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