Back on track
Lady Eagles rout Spalding 65-30, boys fall in overtime
Eastside's girls basketball team wasted no time displaying their improvement Friday as the Lady Eagles soared past Spalding in a 65-30 blowout.
Eastside suffered its first loss of the season earlier in the week but bounced back strongly. Eastside's coach Matthew Jackson said after that loss that "his girls will improve." It was clear within the opening minutes of Friday's matchup against Spalding that the Eagles were indeed a much-improved team.
No player made it clearer than Eastside's big time playmaker Jjade Cook, as she led the Eagles on a 9-2 run early in the first quarter. Cook's teammates followed her lead; running the floor, creating turn- overs and unselfishly distributing the ball to jump out to a 26-7 lead going into the second quarter.
"We set the tempo in the first quarter. We are an uptempo team and we played like one in that first quarter," Jackson said. "Our defense is our offense so when we get out to a great start like that we are hard to beat."
Eastside's interior post player Paige Alexander continued the Eagles' first-half dominance with a blocked shot that sent the gym into a frenzy. On the very next possession, Alexander scored off of a strong post move that caused the Jaguars to demand a timeout.
The Jaguars made positive strides after the muchneeded timeout. Kayla Matthews, who led the
Jaguars in scoring with 10 points found her stroke and narrowed the Eagles lead to 36-20 going into the half.
However, Raven Williams immediately put a halt to the Jaguars strides with a 3-pointer early in the third quarter and sparked the Eagles to pull away.
The Eagles barely missed a basket in the third quarter and several players contributed to that success.
The Eagles began to rotate players and utilize many of their backups in the fourth quarter.
"Our backups are getting much better," Jackson said. "We are going to need them down the stretch, especially towards regionals, so I was excited to see them play well tonight."
The Eagles bench was able to extend the lead going into the fourth quarter to 59-28.
The girls played phenomenal basketball to finish out the game with a 65-30 victory.
The Eagles had nine players contribute to scoring. Cook scored 16 points while Alexia Somerset dropped in 13 points. Williams added 10 points with her excellent shooting. Deandra Sears scored six points and Keresa Howard and Jymara Smith both scored five points. Alexander chipped in with three.
The Eagles are now 12-1 and Coach Jackson was proud of his team's response after losing on Tuesday.
"We had good practice sessions leading up to tonight's game and the girls showed that they have brought back that killer instinct," Jackson said. Boys: Spalding 41, Eastside 40 (OT)
Eastside's boys found themselves in another nail biter Friday against Spalding. Two nights after losing to Sandy Creek at the end of the game, the Jaguars defeated the Eagles 41-40 in overtime.
The Eagles jumped out to a fast start with the help of Donovan Barrett and his precise 3-point shooting. Barrett knocked down two 3-pointers in the first quarter to send the Eagles into the second quarter with a 11-9 lead. Devin Gerald earned his spot on the court in the first quarter with his own 3-pointer which made the Eagles three for four from the three point line coming out of the first.
The Jaguars put an emphasis on defending the 3-point line in the second quarter and gave the Eagles a taste of their own medicine, scoring two 3-pointers in the second quarter and penetrating the defense to snatch the lead away. Eastside trailed 19-16 going into halftime.
Down by three, the Eagles entered the third quarter with intentions to capitalize on the first quarter success of Barrett. Barrett scored five early buckets and caused havoc for the Jaguars undersized defense.
Despite Barrett's performance, the Eagles struggled and turned the ball over frequently, allowing the Jaguars to take a onepoint lead entering the fourth quarter.
Justin Mandola, who led the Jaguars in scoring with 15 points, began to heat up in the fourth quarter. Mandola got himself to the free-throw line at will and capitalized on those opportunities. The Jaguars led 36-30 with five minutes left in the game.
After Barrett fouled out late in the fourth, Devin Gerald knocked down one of two free throws to tie the game at 38-38 at the end of regulation.
In overtime, the Eagles traded points back and forth with the Jaguars, despite the loss of Barrett, up until the final minute in overtime. The Jaguars scored with 25 seconds left on the clock and Eastside was unable to respond.
Drive by: Eastside bounced back Friday with a 65-30 romp of Spalding, after suffering its first loss of the season Tuesday.