The basketball regular season has come to an end, the region tournaments are starting soon, baseball and soccer are beginning, but it's not too early or too late to recognize some of the best basketball players of Newton and Rockdale county. There will be a first and a second all-area team, with the criteria being regular season numbers, level of play, overall impact and of course the "eye test."
Usually when teams announce their starting fives before the game, after each name is called the individual player runs out through a tunnel of teammates and cheerleaders to shake the hands of all three referees and the opposing coach. On Friday – senior night – the Lady Eagles went about announcing their starting five a little differently.
As of January 16, the Eagles were on a three-game losing streak and looked like a team that wouldn't make the playoffs or would be one-and-done. Flash forward to now – the beginning of February – and Eastside basketball has won six-straight games including its latest and most prominent win, a double-digit victory over Walnut Grove (15-9, 7-2 Region 4-AAAA).
Between the boys and the girls game, Eastside celebrated its seniors in the final regular season home game of the season. The seniors didn't disappoint the fans and parents in attendance as both the boys and the girls recorded important region victories over Walnut Grove.
Eastside (10-9, 6-6 Region 4-AAAA) played like something was on the line in the fourth quarter of its matchup with region foe Locust Grove, and probably unbeknownst to the players, they were. With the eventual dominant 69-53 win over the Warriors, Eastside head coach, Gregory Freeman earned the 370th win of his career.
Eastside hosted Locust Grove on Friday night and both the boys and the girls got a victory to improve their region records as the season winds down. The boys improved to 10-9 overall and 6-6 in Region 4-AAAA. The girls improved to 8-12 overall and 7-5 in region 4-AAAA.
Earlier in the week, there was social media uproar from Eastside soccer students because they were told they wouldn't be able to play home games at Sharp Stadium this year. Eastside's soccer field isn't in the condition it needs to be in to allow students to play on it, and Sharp is the only alternative.
Looking at their record (5-10, 4-3 Region 4-AAAA) you would think that the Lady Eagles of Eastside are struggling through this basketball season. But for their sake, they are above .500 where it matters, with a 4-3 record in Region 4-AAAA play. Eastside was able to pick up its fourth region win of the season on Friday night with a 58-50 win over Eagle's Landing. With that win, Eastside has won three straight region games.
Eastside's offense came alive in the first half, but Thomson's defensive pressure changed that in the second half. Still, the Eagles came away with a victory to improve their record to 6-6 on the season.
As school starts back, region play will come to the forefront of the season and each team will be truly tested to see who's a pretender and who's a contender. Some teams are off to hot starts, while others have come out of the gate slow. We take a look at where each team is and grade them on their current play and tease where they can go in the near future.
The Eastside boys and girls basketball teams have gotten off to slow starts this season. After both teams made waves last year, they were depleted by the departure of key senior players who moved on to college. The Eagles (3-6, 2-3 Region 4-AAAA) and the Lady Eagles (2-7, 2-3 Region 4-AAAA) both got wins over Pike County on Friday night to move them in the right direction at the quarter mark of the season.