An Eastside assistant coach spent most of the first half screaming, "You've got to be kidding me!"
York coach Kendall McCarter spent most of the second half shaking his head.
Why all the consternation?
The Cougars built a 19-point halftime lead behind five 3-pointers by Devin Johnson, but Eastside (14-7) mounted a fast-and-furious comeback and had a chance to take the lead in the final minute of first-round Class 3-AAA playoff action Tuesday.
York's Jerry Holmes hit two free throws with 9.0 seconds left, however, and Tony Thomasson's last-second steal preserved a 74-71 victory. Holmes finished with a game-high 29 points.
"It wasn't pretty," McCarter said. "A win is a win, and that was our goal. We're moving on, and they're going home."
York (17-7) travels to face Greer in the second round Friday.
Johnson and Holmes combined for 19 points for a 23-13 lead after one quarter. Johnson opened the game with three consecutive 3-pointers.
York maintained a 48-29 half-time lead behind 11 more points from Johnson and eight from Zach Sharp in the second period.
Johnson finished the first half with 21 of his 23 points.
"(Johnson) came out on fire, and that gave us an early cushion," McCarter said. "Then that third-quarter almost came back to bite us again."
Eastside clawed within 57-49 after three quarters and nearly pulled the impossible in the fourth quarter.
The Eagle cut the lead to 65-64 with 2:49 remaining with the help of 16 second-half points by Davaris McGowans. Eastside's monster power forward finished with 21 points.
The Eagle weren't finished. York committed two turnovers on inbounds passes in the final 30 seconds, and Eastside's K.J. Roseborough had a chance to tie the game at 72 with 15.9 seconds left.
Rosenborough missed both free throws, however, and Holmes hit both free throws after a timeout and most importantly, a successful inbounds play.
"(Free throws) are the difference in ball games like that," McCarter said. "Jerry has been knocking those down since the ninth grade."
Thomasson's steal sealed the Cougars' first playoff win in their last five tries.
YORK 74, EASTSIDE 71
Eastside -- Dwayne Rollins 5, Seth Klein 2, K.J. Roseborough 16, Keil Sherman 11, Roderick Finley 10, Kyle VanHoff 6, Davaris McGowans 21.
York -- Jerry Holmes 29, Devin Johnson 23, Luke Lancaster 1, Zach Sharp 11, Tony Thomasson 3, Reggie McClain 4, Brandon Hagins 3.
Read more: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/02/16/2839130/cougars-able-to-fend-off-eagles.html#ixzz1EA4ruyK4