With first place on the line, Eastside High School's girls' basketball team fell short in its first loss of the season Tuesday. The Lady Eagles fell 56-46 to Sandy Creek in a competitive matchup.
Sandy Creek had nine players contribute to their scoring attack. Ariel Parker led in scoring with 15 points, while Akeila Lain followed with 13 points. Sydney Jarmon and Kaylah Jones both contributed eight points for the patriots.
Eastside moves to 11-1 and coach Matthew Jackson believes the "wakeup call" will strengthen the team.
"The game was a great measuring stick for the girls and they displayed a lot of resiliency in such a competitive game," Jackson said.
Resiliency inspired by the play of Jjade Cook. Cook lit it up with 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assist on the night. Cook jump-started the Eagles with an early 3-pointer and she was able to get to the foul line in the first quarter.
Though the Eagles trailed 17-9 going into the second quarter, Alexia Somerset sparked the team with a couple of scores on the Patriot’s top defensive players. Cook followed with a steal and a quick score and the Eagles began to show some life. However, consecutive turnovers by the Eagles shifted the momentum back into the Patriots favor, causing the Eagles to trail 32-20 going into halftime.
The Eagles struggled with turnovers in the third quarter and slipped further behind to a 38-25 deficit.
"Our turnovers and shooting struggles were uncommon and eventually hurt us," Jackson said.
However, the Eagles entered the fourth quarter with a re-energized scoring attack.
Jjade Cook began her scoring spree early in the fourth quarter to bring the Eagles within six points with 7:00 left on the clock. The Eagles continued to fight during the fourth quarter but could not overcome their shooting struggles to finish the game with a 56-46 loss.
The Eagles had six players contribute to scoring. Somerset scored nine points, Raven Williams added six points, Andriana Spears scored four points while Keresa Howard contributed three points and Jymara Smith scored points.
Despite the loss and the first place implications of the game, Jackson was happy where his team is.
"We fought hard tonight against a good basketball team and we will continue to improve," he said.