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Career night for Eli Brooks sparks Spring Grove win

Spring Grove senior Eli Brooks has had many standout games in his time as part of the Rockets' boys' basketball squad.

But none as big as when he posted career highs in points and rebounds in leading his team to a 79-77 win over previously unbeaten Middletown on Wednesday night at Spring Grove.

The University of Michigan recruit pocketed 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field, including making his final nine shots. He also pulled down 20 rebounds.

The Rockets held a tedious 39-37 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. Brooks was having somewhat of an off night to that point as he had scored 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

That's when he exploded for 29 points in the final 10 minutes of the game and didn't miss a shot from the field.

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He put a bow on the third quarter when he made a rush up the floor and eluded multiple defenders before pulling up for a deep triple at the quarter horn that pushed the Rockets' advantage to 51-41.

"Late in the third quarter, Eli tried to make a pass and it ended up in a turnover," Spring Grove coach James Brooks said. "At that point, he decided that he needed to take over the game."

Spring Grove (6-3) led 65-52 with five minutes to go, but the Blue Raiders refused to go quietly as Chris Plummer (27 points), Luke Mrakovich (19 points) and Ryan Hughes (17 points) had their finger prints all over the visitors' rally that cut the lead to 79-77 with four seconds to go.

Hughes had a decent look from the left wing, but his shot banged off the back rim and the Rockets snuck away with the win.

"You have shooting slumps at times," Eli Brooks said. "My dad was a shooter when he played and he tells me all the time that when you're a shooter, you keep shooting. They'll eventually start to fall."

The win comes on the heels of a 75-59 loss to YAIAA I rival Northeastern and before the Rockets welcome Dallastown on Friday.

"It was important to get the win tonight," James Brooks said. "I thought we played the way that we wanted to play (Tuesday), but Northeastern was better than us that night and they beat us. We needed a rebound and now we need to get ready for Dallastown on Friday."