Eichhorst, Woodruff celebrate at King’s

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MARY BOVE/THE HIGHLANDER

Coach Woodruff encourages players during a recent home game.

Dom Dellos, Reporter

Ethan Eichhorst’s layup with 1.4 seconds remaining lifted the Cougars to a dramatic 62-60 victory Wednesday night at King’s College.

After a timeout, with the score tied 60-60, Eichhorst caught an inbounds pass with 4.4 seconds left at the top of the key and exploded past a defender for a layup with 1.4 seconds still on the clock. A King’s desperation heave from behind half court didn’t come close as Coach Trevor Woodruff picked up a milestone 100th career win.

“Coach Woodruff drew up the play on the white board, and we ran it practice many times before,” Eichhorst said. “It was supposed to be a fake handoff to Undy [Chris Undersinger], but I felt it wasn’t going to work so I took it upon myself to score.”

Eichhorst had a team high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds as he played all 40 minutes to lead the Cougars. Reaching the 1,000 point mark earlier in the season, it was only fitting for the ball to be in the hands of the 6’4” Senior Captain with the clock ticking down.

“We had to give the ball to our best player in the best position for him to score,” Sophomore point guard Matt Greene said. “They had to respect the jumpshot of Undy and that allowed Ethan to take his man on.”

In front of 1,500 fans inside Scandlon Gymnasium, the Cougars found themselves down early on the road yet again.

According to Eichhorst, defense was the key to weathering the storm early and getting back into the game. King’s lead 21-9 with 8:23 to play in the first half.

“It was an intense game, and a hectic atmosphere,” Eichhorst said. “We started slow but our defense held strong, especially in the final minutes.”

The Cougars took a 29-28 lead into halftime, but with 9 minutes remaining found themselves down 49-41. A key 7-0 run capped by a Matt Greene three pointer cut the lead to 49-48.

The Cougars took the lead 57-56 on a pair of free throws by Steve Artzerounian with 1:13 remaining. After a Matt Greene three-pointer extended the lead to 60-56, King’s fought their way back to tie the game late, setting up Eichhorst’s heroics.

“The atmosphere was crazy, something any player dreams of playing in,” Greene said. “That was the best feeling and best game I’ve ever played in.”

Despite the big stage, the Cougars seemed unaffected by the crowd down the stretch.

“Basketball is all about confidence,” Greene said. “You can’t play timid. I was in the huddle telling the guys to be confident, and shoot the shot if you have it.”

The 100th career victory for Coach Trevor Woodruff couldn’t have possibly been scripted any better.

“He deserves it,” Greene said. “He’s a great Coach, we believe in what he does. He does a lot for us on and off the court, and sometimes I think we take it for granted. He recruited me and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”

“It’s a big achievement,” Eichhorst said, who in his fourth and final season under Woodruff. “We knew about it and wanted to come out focused. I’m glad we got it for him.”

The Cougars improve to 12-6 on the season, and 4-3 in the conference, while looking to build momentum after the key win.

“We celebrated, but it’s now over,” Greene said. “We have to keep improving.”