EAST WENATCHEE — Everything was working for Eastmont Friday on Senior Night.
The Wildcats buried 14 3-pointers as a team, senior Isaac Wellborn dropped 29 points – and recorded his 1,000th career point – and Eastmont rode a 33-point third-quarter toward their highest point total of the season, beating Davis 91-75 at home.
Even senior Levi Vanderpool got in on the action, scoring his first bucket of the season – much to the delight of fans, who were calling for him throughout the final two minutes.
“He has an interesting story because he turned out last year and didn’t make the team,” Eastmont head coach George Juarez said. “But he tried out again this year and made the team, and I told him that even though he might not play a lot, I would give him an opportunity.”
The Wildcats’ guards had been trying to force-feed Vanderpool over the final two minutes, but they were unable to get him the ball. Up by more than 20 with less than a minute remaining, it looked like he wouldn’t get a chance. But with just a few ticks left in the game, Vanderpool got his moment.
After being coaxed off the bench with 10 seconds left, Vanderpool got the ball inside and converted the layup as time ran out. The place went wild.
Honestly, Vanderpool got a louder ovation than Wellborn, who recorded his 1,000th career point midway through the third quarter and received a commemorative plaque from Juarez. And Wellborn was cooking. He drained five 3-pointers, grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists and pocketed three steals.
“He deserves it,” Juarez said of Wellborn. “He has worked so hard and doesn’t complain about a lot of things. I’m just very happy for him.”
Wellborn seemed reinvigorated after hitting the milestone. He scored six straight points, nabbed a steal, got a block and then threw down a monster-jam in transition. Wellborn later went up for a two-handed reverse – which would have brought the house down – after forcing another steal but just missed.
“I think we all were a little juiced,” Juarez said. “I thought he was going to get the one slam but I think he got psyched out a little bit. He came over and was apologizing but all my guys were saying, ‘you can’t be made at him coach.’ It was a good evening for us as a team.”
Eastmont led by double-digits for most of the contest. Seniors Trey Haberlock and Evan Smith both chipped in 12 points apiece, Lane Keller added eight points and eight rebounds and Oscar Calvillo finished with eight points and eight assists.
Earl Lee III paced Davis with 23 points and Jose Reyes added 13 off the bench.
It wasn’t like Eastmont did anything special, they just got a lot of open looks from deep and made them.
“Well, you know what they say, ‘live by the three, die by the three,’ tonight we hit some 3-pointers,” Juarez said.
While hitting 14 3-pointers probably isn’t sustainable, if the Wildcats can hit just half of that they are going to be tough to beat. Because they play defense and (for the most part) control the glass.
Eastmont has one game left on their schedule – Tuesday at Sunnyside – before playoffs.
“We just have to take care of business right now, because mathematically, Wenatchee could tie us if they win out (and we lose),” Juarez said. We’ve been road-warriors this year but hopefully, this is a nice springboard for us.”
If the Wildcats win on Tuesday, they will be in the Big 9 Championship game against West Valley on February 20.