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01/30/2009 - East High has big 4th quarter to upset No. 3 Southeast
Lincoln East may have set the history machine to 60 years ago, but its defense would’ve fit into any time period after a 35-33 victory against Class A No. 3 Lincoln Southeast before 1,271 fans on Friday night at the East Gym.

“I don’t care if it was 1-0, a win over a great team like Southeast is good,” said East senior Reece Schwartz. “I didn’t do anything all game, but decided to buckle down on defense in the fourth quarter and so did the rest of our team and we took this game away.”

East held Southeast to four points in the fourth quarter to rally from an 11-point deficit with 7:34 left.

Trailing 31-20, the Spartans (10-5) held Southeast to just one field goal the rest of the game and chipped away with steals converted to layups by Schwartz and Jordan Yurth to take the lead with 1:11 left.

Yurth’s steal and layup put East ahead 34-33 and Southeast missed two three-point attempts.

Tyson Clark hit a free throw with 25 seconds left. Southeast missed a three-pointer with 10 seconds left and Yurth rebounded and was fouled. He missed his free throws,  but teammate Drew Sankey rebounded and was fouled with six seconds remaining. He missed his free throws, too, but Southeast didn’t get a shot off before the end of the game.

“I’m happy with the win, but I wish we had made some free throws at the end,” said East coach Ed McPherren, whose team missed 6 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and hit just 5 of 14 overall.

“But we did play some good,  trapping defense at the end and that made all the difference in the world to us,” he said. “We had to pick up the tempo and get Southeast out of a rhythm, anything to get them to try something they weren’t comfortable with. Often when you trap on defense you get fouls for reaching. But we showed some discipline and got some really nice steals.”

Yurth stole a pass and scored with 6:38 left to cut Southeast’s lead to 31-24. Luke Matzke stole a ball and scored on a layup with 5:14 left, then Sankey hit a basket and scored again on a rebound with 2:54 remaining to cut the deficit to 31-30.

Southeast’s Taylor Price, who scored 14 points, then scored on a drive through the middle of the East defense with 2:03 left, but Schwartz scored his only basket of the game off another steal and Yurth scored off a steal to give the Spartans the lead.

“Coach McPherren teaches us to bend our knees and be ready to move when we trap and we’ll get the steals,” Schwartz said. “We shoot the gaps when they pull up and everybody helps out.”

McPherren said he couldn’t credit his team’s defense for the entire game.

“I’m not going to celebrate the defense all game, because Southeast had shots and just didn’t hit a lot of them,” he said.

Southeast was just 3-of-20 on three-pointers and 14-of-38 overall for the game.

“I don’t know what it is, but in two games with East, we’ve gotten good looks a lot of the time and we’re something like 5-for-41 on three-point shots,” said Southeast coach Jeff Smith, whose team fell to 11-3 and hosts Creighton Prep today at 7 p.m.

“This is tough for us because we had a good lead and we held East to 35 points. ... That should win a lot of games,” he said. “But for some reason we did not shoot the ball and everything, absolutely everything that could go wrong down the stretch did. We lost some turnovers. Sankey scores on a third shot by East on one trip and you can’t win when you have that many mistakes.”
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