Ea­gles se­cure top spot; girls end their skid

The Covington News - - SPORTS - XAVIER MCKNIGHT AND JAVON DICK­ER­SON sports@cov­news.com

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.

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