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Hoops: Eastside at Rockdale County
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CONYERS - On Friday, the Eastside High hoopsters split a pair of region games against host Rockdale County.

For the boys, the Eagles (8-12 overall, 3-10 Region 8-AAAA South) were able to come from as many as 15 down to pull out a late thriller, 68-66.

Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles (8-19, 1-12) lost, 38-34.

"This was one heck of a game," said Eastside boys coach Michael Gerald. "I thought both teams knew coming in how important it was to get a win with the region tournament coming up. I knew the boys had it in them with the way they had been playing lately to come from behind and win the game."

The Eagles trailed the entire game but it never took away their confidence. Both teams were turning the ball over throughout the first half, and Eastside found itself looking at a 12-point deficit heading into the locker rooms, trailing 38-26.

The third quarter was pretty much the same, though it looked as if the Bulldogs were starting to pull away. However, Gabe Mathis banked home a 3-pointer just as the buzzer sounded, giving the Eagles a little momentum going into the fourth, down 57-43.

Eastside took that momentum and ran with it, with almost everyone contributing clutch jumpers. Each time the Bulldogs looked as if they would make a run to close out the game, the Eagles would go on a run of their own.

With two minutes and 42 seconds to go, Artis Clanton sank a clutch deep ball that brought the Rockdale lead to 66-65. Cameron Robinson soon followed with a jumper to give the Eagles their first lead of the game.

In fact, Eastside outscored the Bulldogs 25-9 in the fourth quarter.

Clanton scored a game-high 26 points. Mathis added 14, while Robinson had 11 points. Quay Maddox chipped in with 10.

Rockdale's Ryan Watts and Cardarryle Bethley each scored 12 points. Kevin Ware followed with 10.

"We had been playing extremely hard lately but we also needed to execute," said Gerald. "Tonight we were able to execute in the fourth and that gave us a chance to win."

In the girls game, the Lady Eagles also found themselves down early to Rockdale (7-15, 4-10). But they were able to manage a lead going into halftime, 13-12.

Eastside swelled its lead in the fourth, 26-20; however, the Lady Bulldogs were able to force multiple turnovers that led to many fast breaks, inevitably changing the game.

"We were missing two of our primary ball handlers tonight, and ultimately I think that cost us late in the game," said Eastside girls coach Jason Grooms. "We played extremely hard tonight, but we had too many turnovers in key situations that took away our chance to win the game."

Eventually, the Lady Eagles fell too far behind to pull out the win, even with a Jade Cook 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Porshia Cleveland led Rockdale with a game-high 17 points. Giovanni Sims added 12.

Cook finished with 16 points.

"I'm still extremely proud of our girls and the effort they showed," said Grooms. "They never quit playing hard."