All Eastbrook Middle School’s Trey Parris could do was watch helplessly and bury his head in his jersey.

The little point guard had done everything he could do — finishing with 18 points and four 3-pointers — to help his Mustangs erase a 16-point deficit before fouling out with 12.2 seconds left.

Parris and Eastbrook came close to coming all the way back, but Dalton stubbornly clung to the lead and went on to post a 52-50 win in an eighth grade boys’ semifinal Friday afternoon at Dalton Middle School.

The second-seeded Cougars (13-1) will play top-seeded North Whitfield (13-1) for the eighth grade championship today at 1:30 p.m. at Bagley Middle School.

North Whitfield earned a spot in the title game by blasting Bagley 50-29 in the other semifinal.

“We were down (16) points in the second half and all the kids just rallied around each other,” said Eastbrook coach Will Gates. “Take away a charge call late and that’s a different ballgame.”

The play Gates referred to came when Parris appeared to tie the game at 50-all with around 50 seconds to play. But Parris was whistled for charging, the points were taken off the scoreboard and the Mustangs had to start over.

Dalton’s Kelly Phillips sank a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to give the Cougars a comfortable four-point cushion.

Phillips dominated on the inside throughout the game, recording a double-double with 31 points and 15 rebounds.

“Kelly played very well offensively and defensively,” said Cougars coach Phil Jones. “He came through whenever we needed a big bucket.”

The Cougars never trailed in the game, leading 17-10 after a quarter and 29-15 at the half.

But down 38-22 with just over two minutes to play in the third, the Mustangs went on a 10-0 run keyed by two 3s by Parris. Dalton’s 16-point lead had been whittled to six in a span of 2:13.

“That tells the character of the kids and how much they wanted to win the game,” Gates said. “They worked very hard to get back into it.”

Led by Phillips, Eric Green, Tevin Collins and Mitch Townsend, the Cougars kept the pressure on, holding a 50-43 lead with 1:45 left. Eastbrook’s Joel Cavarrabias converted a three-point play and hit a short jumper under the glass to make it 50-48 with 55 seconds remaining.

“Coach Gates does a good job with his boys,” said Jones. “They were able to keep up the intensity. ... Our boys just stepped forward and executed at the end.”

Cavarrabias finished with 15 points for Eastbrook and Mark Baldwin had eight.

North Whitfield 50, Bagley 29: Alex Thames led the first-seeded Pioneers with 15 points and Jordan Darnell had eight as North Whitfield coasted past Bagley.

Zach Harper paced Bagley (6-8) with 10 points.

North Whitfield (14-1) meets Dalton for the eighth grade title today. The two teams split during the regular season, handing each other their only defeats of the season.



Eighth grade girls

North Whitfield 30, Dalton 17: Alex Warren scored eight points and Kayla Piorkowski and Morgan Ridley had six apiece as the Lady Pioneers (13-1) knocked off Dalton and earned a chance to play Westside in today’s championship, slated for noon at Bagley Middle School.

Hallie Perry topped Dalton with six points.

Westside 48, Eastbrook 30: Jordi Cook pumped in 13 and Baleigh Coley and Christy Robinson had 11 to guide Westside (13-1) past Eastbrook in the other semifinal game.

Marticia Washington scored 10 in a losing effort for Eastbrook.

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