As Isaiah Eisendorf scored No. 18 Springbrook's first seven points Tuesday night in an eventual rout of Wheaton, he showed little emotion. The senior followed easy lay-ins and tough scores in traffic the same way: by turning around and preparing to defend.
But late in the first quarter, Eisendorf drew the defense from below the basket and found Aaron Robinson with a perfect feed to set up an easy layup. He jumped, hollered and clapped ferociously, a relative emotional explosion inspired by a perfectly executed team-first moment. Though the importance was masked by the lopsided final score of 76-42, Eisendorf’s rebounds, disciplined defense and unabating hustle — along with a team-high 19 points — sparked Springbrook (19-2, 8-0 in Montgomery County 4A East) to its ninth straight win.
“He’s our glue,” Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell said. “He brings energy every game, leading rebounder every game, and he’s been scoring a lot lately . . . Isaiah is a beast.”
Eisendorf helped set up many of the Blue Devils’ buckets he didn’t score himself, whether by going a step or two more in pursuit of a loose ball, enticing an offensive rebound away from a Knight, or making an extra pass. As with his first-quarter assist, he reacted most vehemently to those less glamorous plays — hardly shifting his facial expression when he beat the third-quarter buzzer, but nearly clapping his hand off when a teammate finished after he made a tough save-to-outlet pass.
“Honestly, I get most pumped up when we score a tough basket,” Eisendorf said. “That’s all that matters to me. I try to do the things that aren’t getting done — if we need rebounds, I try to get rebounds. If it’s defense, I’ll try to step up on defense. I just try to do whatever we need.”
Eisendorf served as a crucial deterrent in the center of the Blue Devils’ defense Tuesday, turning away shots without leaving his feet, helping when a Wheaton player snuck through to the paint and disrupting passing lanes.
“He’s our glue guy,” said Blue Devils leading scorer Andrew Robinson, who scored 15 points. “He does everything for us: rebounds, scores, defense, blocks shots.”
Thanks in large part to Eisendorf keeping his feet grounded and his hands held high in the lane as the last line of defense against would-be scorers, Wheaton (12-9, 10-3 Montgomery County 3A/2A) struggled to make up for an off night of jump shooting with high-percentage opportunities. The Knights, the fourth-highest scoring team in Montgomery County, scored the fewest points they had all season Tuesday. Springbrook is allowing fewer than 45 points per game, third fewest among public or private schools in the area.
“We really, really emphasize [defense], we spend a lot of time on it” Crowell said. “It’s all we talk about: who we need to stop and how we’re going to do it.”