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Eagles, Rams alumni game - Girls
Meeting for the first time
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Eastside didn't start playing girls basketball until 2003, so for Newton basketball players such as Takeita Bell, there was never a chance for a cross-town rivalry.

That changed on Saturday when the two teams squared off in an alumni game. Players ranging from recent graduates to Bell, who graduated from Newton in 2001, and even her mother a fellow former Ram participated in a dual alumni game at Newton High.

The girls' game preceded a boys contest, also pitting past Eagles against past Rams.

A crowd of family, friends and fans were on hand to see their past favorite Newton and Eastside players compete against each other. For most of the girls game, however, it wasn't much of a competition. Newton came out on top 20-14 after playing a 15-minute second half and a 12-minute first. The first half had Newton up 14-2 but the score didn't mean much Saturday.

"I think we did really well considering most of us have been out of school 10 years," said 2002 Eastside alumna Shonkinshu Wilborn. "They're a fresh team straight out of high school."

The real thrill for the players Saturday wasn't necessarily competing against the cross-town school, but instead getting to see old teammates and friends again.

"It was fun," said 2002 Eastside alumna Elizabeth Harding. "I haven't seen most of these girls for 10-plus years."

In the past, Newton got together for its own alumni game but organizers brought Eastside into the fold this year, and in the future would like to incorporate Alcovy, which is only in its sixth year of existence.

No matter which school the girls have played for, there was no animosity in the competition Saturday.

Even young Haidyn Bell wasn't too stressed, or wouldn't have been if she was old enough to talk, as her mother Takeita played for Newton, and father Jerrick, who played for Eastside were on different sides.

"Off the court, we're still family," said Bell Newton's girls' junior varsity basketball coach.