When the Grapevine and Fort Worth Eastern Hills boys basketball teams square off on Friday at Grapevine High School, it will pit two of the top teams in District 8-5A against each other.
The Mustangs were 6-3 through their first nine district games, while Eastern Hills was 8-1 and in first place in the 8-5A standings.
When Grapevine took on the top-ranked Highlanders for the first time on Jan. 18, it lost by seven points in a game that was neck-and-neck until the very end.
Coach Jeremy Mills said he thinks it will be another hotly contested game this time around and said he feels quite certain his team will be in for a big challenge.
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“It should be a very physical, intense game,” Mills said. “There’s a reason they are in first place in a very competitive district. They are big, fast, skilled, extremely athletic and very well coached. They have everything you need to be a great team.”
In the first game, Ethan Tabor led the team in scoring with 21 points, while Boone Montgomery scored 17 points in the game.
Nick Einkauf scored 12 points in the game for Grapevine and Dalton Novotny added nine.
There’s a reason they are in first place in a very competitive district. They are big, fast, skilled, extremely athletic and very well coached. They have everything you need to be a great team.”
- Grapevine head coach Jeremy Mills on Fort Worth Eastern Hills
Mills said that it will take “rebounding and limiting our turnovers” to get the victory over the Highlanders this time around and said facing a team of that caliber shortly before the start of the postseason can be nothing but beneficial for Grapevine.
“In the playoffs, all the teams are good, just like Eastern Hills,” Mills said. “Our bi-district is paired with other Fort Worth schools, so Eastern Hills is very comparable to who will face in the first round if we’re fortunate enough to qualify for the playoffs.”
As the postseason nears, Mills said he is feeling confident that his team will push as hard as it can to grab one of the four district playoff spots.
“We’re currently tied for second and playing our best basketball as of late,” Mills said last week. “We’ve won six of our last seven district games, only dropping a close one to the district leader Eastern Hills. We’re off to a great start in round two, beating Poly and Dunbar and want to continue playing great team basketball.
“We’re taking it one game at a time and our goal remains the same, to win the district title and put ourselves in the best possible position to do something special in the playoffs.”
The Grapevine boys basketball team has not won a playoff game since 1985, and Mills said he is confident that his team has put in the hard work and dedication necessary to change that.
“We currently have 11 seniors on our roster who each play a vital role in our team’s success and are best friends on and off the floor,” Mills said. “They’re great students in the classroom and have such great chemistry on the floor. They really want to leave a great legacy for our program, school, and community.”