The second winning season in Eastside boys' basketball history is set to continue thanks, in part, to the lights-out shooting of Anthony Henderson.
The sophomore small forward tied Neil Lattimore's school record with eight 3-pointers, and led the way in Eastside's 58-49 win over Stockbridge in the Region 4-AAA quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Henderson was 8 of 11 from 3-point range, finishing with 29 points.
"The Great thing about that is all of the shots were taken within our offense," Eastside coach Gregory Freeman said. "We didn't have to change anything."
The Eagles set the tone early, jumping out to an 11-0 lead, and continued to keep Stockbridge at bay, in qualifying for the state tournament.
Henderson put up shots in transition, on the wing during inside-out play and even some that would have been bad selections on any other night.
"It was a mixture," Freeman said. "He got a couple in transition, in set offense and even when they tried to zone us up. He took a couple of no/yes jumpers too. He was in the zone."
Henderson said he was in the zone, where nothing seemed like it would miss. The shots just seemed to fall without any change to his game. Even his pre-game routine was the same.
The routine, sometimes changed from game to game, but after Tuesday's outburst, Henderson's fashion statement will continue.
Henderson went with his black Nike socks under green socks, going left to right. Something he has done often throughout the season. Now it will be routine.
"I'm going to keep doing it," Henderson said.
Green socks, black socks, purple socks or no socks, Henderson is now more prepared than ever to keep shooting if given the chance.
"Yes I will," Henderson said. "I can do it again if I already had one game (shooting that well)."
He'll have quite the challenge of repeating Tuesday's hot-shooting performance as Eastside meets up with the state's fifth ranked team, Drew today.
"We'll celebrate and refocus," Freeman said. "Our first goal was to make the state playoffs, and the second goal was to win the region championship."
It can all lead to an even loftier goal that Henderson feels is in the Eagles' range.
"We think we can win the state championship," he said.
Other state qualifyers:
The Eastside girls team will join its counterparts in the state tournament, after defeating Eagle's Landing on Wednesday. The Eagles face Sandy Creek in the 4-AAA semifinals today at 4 p.m.
The Alcovy boys' team is also in the state tournament, after defeating Whitewater 66-37 on Tuesday. The Tigers will face Dutchtown in the semifinals today.
The Lady Tigers will also play today, meeting up with McIntosh at 4 p.m. in the semifinals. Alcovy defeated Griffin 64-44 to earn a spot in the 3-AAAA state tournament.
Newton is the only school in the area with just one team in the state playoffs, as the girls' defeated Langston Hughes 54-39 to advance to the 2-AAAAA semifinals today.
The Newton boys' team fell in the region quarterfinals to Stephenson.