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Hoops: Rockdale Co. at Eastside
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Entering Tuesday, the Eastside boys and girls varsity basketball teams looked to put and end to their losing streak as Rockdale came to town.

For the boys, it happened, as the Eagles (11-8 overall, 3-2 Region 8-AAAA, Sub-region B) won a 38-37 nail-biter in thrilling fashion.

"We can't do anything the easy way," said Eastside coach Michael Gerald. "We were a little short-handed, and the guys we had made a commitment to win. They put together a gutsy performance, and we were able to come out with a victory."

Earlier Tuesday, the Lady Eagles took to the court also looking to put a close to their losing streak. But in the end it would be free throws that would prevent this from happening, falling 35-33.

In the boys game, Cameron Robinson was able to get two of his 12 points on a quick drive and pull-up shot from 12 feet out on Eastside's first possession. During the second possession, he collected his first assist of the night, finding Neal Latimore for three of his team-high 14 points.

The Eagles soon regained possession on one of their seven first-quarter forced turnovers, which led to an easy Robinson layup. After Eastside surrendered its first bucket, Robinson drove the length of the court for his second assist. Awaiting the pass was Latimore, to which he connected on his second trey in only five possessions.

With the tone set and a "we can't lose" attitude in place, the Eagles led 19-9 at halftime.

As the third quarter began, the Bulldogs (10-7, 3-2) - led by sharpshooter Jonathon Gissantaner - started to mount their comeback. Putting together a 10-2 opening drive, they forced the Eagles to retreat into a timeout in order to regain their composure.

Gissantaner had a game-high 20 points.

With a newly acquired confidence, the Eagles retaliated with an 11-3 run of their own, giving them a 32-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Down by seven, the Bulldogs fought hard and were able to take the lead with two minutes remaining in the game. With both teams in the double bonus, the game would be decided by which team could convert on their free throws.

On this night it would be Eastside, who finished the game 4-of-7 from the line, converting when it counted. Artis Clanton came up with end lead by nailing a free throw with less than a minute to go.

For the girls, it was a different story.

"Turnovers and free throws killed us," admitted Eastside coach Jason Grooms. "We had a good scheme (and) a good defense, but we were just unable to convert our free throws."

After coming out strong, the Lady Eagles (3-13, 0-5) began to collapse in the second half.

In a first half where points were a premium, Eastside - steered by Ashley Burtts and her nine points - outrebounded and outscored the Lady Bulldogs (6-11, 2-3), leading 13-10 entering halftime.

However, as the second half started so did the turnovers.

The Lady Eagles committed nine of their 24 turnovers, and allowing Rockdale to take the lead.

"We made unnecessary turnovers, some when even they weren't playing defense on us," said Grooms.

With the Eagles down but not out, Jade Cook and her team-high 10 points decided to make it a fight to the finish.

But with just five seconds left of regulation and the game tied, the Lady Eagles made a crucial mental error by fouling Rockdale's Lauren Stewart, sending her to the charity stripe for two shots.

After splitting her free throws, the Lady Bulldogs took a one-point lead, eventually holding on for the victory.

Rockdale's Porshia Cleveland had 10 points.