Eagles secure top spot; girls end their skid
The Eastside Eagles boys basketball team kept its regular season region championship hopes alive Friday night, defeating visiting Johnson 62-57.
The Knights (15-5, 3-1) were previously unbeaten in region play, and the win keeps the Eagles' (16-2, 5-0) 11-game win streak alive with just four regular season games left on the schedule.
Despite the victory, Eastside coach Gregory Freeman said the Eagles could have played better,
“We didn’t follow instruction, and by not following instructions we allowed them to get back into the game," Freeman said.
The Eagles began the first quarter on a 12-2 run, but the Knights responded with a quick 4-0 spurt with free throws by senior forward James Hodges and a layup by junior guard Ty Cockfield.
Eastside closed out the quarter on a 4-0 run with layups by guards Treyvon Francis and Marquise Sims, ending the period with an 18-10 lead.
The second quarter began with the Eagles increasing their lead back to double digits on a 3-pointer by Sims. The Knights cut the lead back down to nine on a layup by senior guard Drew Dunham, but Francis scored the Eagles' next five points, increasing their lead to 2712.
However, the Knights kept fighting and went on an 11-0 run to close out the quarter, trimming the Eagles' advantage to 30-26 at the half.
The third quarter began with both teams trading buckets. Francis scored the first points of the quarter to increase the Eagles' lead to six, but the Knights responded with a 3-pointer from junior guard Roderick English.
The Knights cut the lead down to two points at 35-33, but senior guard Anthony Henderson responded with back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing Eastside's lead to eight.
Both teams started to trade 3-pointers as the third quarter came to a close, but a layup by Sims sent the Eagles to the fourth quarter with a 47-40 lead.
Francis scored a layup to begin the fourth quarter, but the Knights went on a quick 4-0 run with back-to-back layups coming from Hodges.
Both teams traded bas- kets after the Knights' run, but Francis knocked down a pair of free throws to extend Eastside's lead to 61-54.
The Knights responded with a 3-pointer from senior Carter Cagle and cut the lead back to four, but J.J. Saxton converted a free throw to seal the win for the Eagles, 62-57.
“All we do in practice is defense and efficiency and that was our goal second half," Francis said. "We were ready to go and we had the most energy and we kept pushing."
Despite foul trouble, Francis led the Eagles in scoring with 24 points. The Knights were led in scoring by Hodges, who had 23 points.
Girls end streak
The Lady Eagles varsity basketball team had no problem with visiting Johnson Friday night, dominating the visiting Lady Knights 72-28.
It was by far the Lady Eagles' best game of the season in region play, as Eastside broke its two-game region losing skid.
Eastside suffered through a rough patch of its season, losing four of its last five contests, with three of those losses by double digits, but the Lady Eagles' restlessness was silenced with the 44-point victory.
“We’ve been going through a rough spot,” Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. “Trying to find a spark – this is the one we needed.”
Sophomore guard Teirra Brown was the star of the night with 20 points, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Jymara Smith added 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while Adriana Spears pitched in with 11 points.
Eastside struggled to shake the Lady Knights early, scoring just eight points in the first quarter. But, its defense allowed the Lady Eagles to carry a five-point lead into the second quarter, as Johnson scored just three points in the opening period.
Eastside distanced itself from Johnson in the second quarter, scoring 24 points in the period alone.
The Lady Eagles used their defense once again to limit the Lady Knights, holding Johnson to nine points in the quarter to go up by 20 at halftime.
Eastside put in its reserves for much of the second half, but still managed to ourscore the Lady Knights by 22 over the final 16 minutes of play.
Eastside returns to action Friday on the road at Lanier.