Twice as ex­cit­ing

East­side girls pull out dou­ble OT thriller, win first at Newton

The Covington News - - Sports - Josh Briggs Sports Edi­tor

East­side's girls bas­ket­ball team has had a year to re­mem­ber so far. It can now cross off a win at Newton af­ter Satur­day's 58-55 dou­ble over­time vic­tory.

Qais­erah Sharif's bucket with 29 sec­onds to go tied the game at 44-44 in reg­u­la­tion and Raven Wil­liams' layup in over­time set the stage for the sec­ond over­time.

Jas­mine Laguins hit a 3-pointer on Newton's first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond over­time to put the Lady Rams up 53-50 be­fore De­shantra Kelly an­swered with a three of her own for East­side. Af­ter a Sharif bucket put the Lady Rams up two, East­side closed out the game with five unan­swered points.

"We knew com­ing in, since we beat them pretty hand­edly the first time, they were go­ing to be very hard to beat," East­side coach Mathew Jack­son said. "The tough part was con­vinc­ing them to play with in­ten­sity and never give up."

Sev­eral crit­i­cal mis­takes down the stretch in the fourth quar­ter and each over­time pe­riod hurt Newton. Head coach Tif­fani John­son called time­out with her team on a fast break with six sec­onds to go and the game tied at the end of reg­u­la­tion, thwart­ing a pos­si­ble fast­break op­por­tu­nity. Then, the Lady Rams shot the ball with a 2-point lead and 16 sec­onds re­main­ing in the first over­time that led to Wil­liams' layup. Fi­nally, Mikola Burks drove down the lane at the end of the sec­ond over­time with her team down two and in need of a 3-pointer to tie it.

East­side was the bene­fac­tor each time. Newton was un­able to get off a po­ten­tial game-win­ning shot at the end of reg­u­la­tion and Wil­liams grabbed the long re­bound and went coastto-coast for the layup at the end of the first over­time.

"I was proud — when (she shot that), some of our heads went down," Jack­son said. "I told them the game wasn't over and to keep fight­ing to the end and they re­sponded pretty well."

Sharif al­most willed her team to a sec­ond straight come-from-be­hind win in as many games with an­oth-

er stir­ring sec­ond half per­for­mance. She scored all of her 21 points in the sec­ond half and over­time pe­ri­ods and led Newton back from an early 10-point deficit.

"We just went cold and they went on a lit­tle run," Jack­son said. "We did a ter­ri­ble job of play­ing de­fense. We started to be lazy and we stopped mov­ing our feat. A lot of it had to do with us be­ing tired."

East­side's tan­dem of Alexia Som­er­set and Keresa Howard had other ideas. Som­er­set paced the Lady Ea­gles with 21 points while Howard dropped 16 be­fore foul­ing out.

"They re­ally had no an­swer for her (Som­er­set)," Jack­son said. "She did a great job of stay­ing out of foul trou­ble. That's been her Achilles' heel. We knew if we could get the ball to her, they would ei­ther have to dou­ble or triple team her and we could kick it out and get a nice out­side shot out of it."

East­side led through­out the game but Newton kept fight­ing in the sec­ond half and tied the game at 42 on Burks 3-point play with 2:28 left in reg­u­la­tion. Af­ter East­side went up by two, Sharif scored to knot the game at 44 and set up the first over­time.

Nei­ther team could do much to start the first over­time pe­riod un­til Burks broke the deadlock with a bucket. Burks fin­ished with 12.

East­side cen­ter Paige Alexan­der was held in check for most of the game but picked the right time to con­trib­ute when she knocked down a bucket with 53 sec­onds left in the sec­ond over­time to put East­side up one. Som­er­set knocked down a pair of free throws and Newton was un­able to tie the game at the end.

"I was very proud," Jack­son said. "This is very grat­i­fy­ing. It's the first time in our his­tory we've beaten them at home."

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Crunch time: East­side's Paige Alexan­der (45) goes for the block against Qais­erah Sharif dur­ing the Lady Ea­gles' 58-55 win in dou­ble over­time Satur­day. It's East­side's first sea­son sweep over Newton.

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