The Eastside boys varsity basketball team passed its first test of region play Tuesday night at home, pummeling the Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes 81-44 in its 2013-2014 region opener.
Twelve different Eagles scored in the blowout victory, while Eastside limited Monroe Area to just 15 points in the first half.
Anthony Henderson led the Eagles with 19 points, while Treyvon Francis added 15 in just three quarters of play.
Justin Adams joined the Eastside duo in double figures with 11 points, in what Eastside coach Gregory Freeman called his team’s most complete offensive performance of the year.
“We moved the ball and passed it better than we have ever passed it,” Freeman said. “We got good minutes out of Tommy Yates and good minutes out of Justin Adams.
Freeman said that Francis and Henderson’s hot start was the spark plug for the Eagles’ highest offensive output of the season.
“From the tip, to the end, he (Francis) just controls it,” Freeman said. “He scored the first seven points and had 15 at the half. He just made sure (to make) it a point to get Anthony Henderson off tonight.”
Eastside wasted little time in the first quarter, building its lead to a virtually insurmountable amount, as Francis hit a pair of jumpers and a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Eagles ahead 7-0 less than three minutes into the period.
Henderson followed Francis’ 3-pointer with a shot from his own from beyond the arc, and a Henderson free throw pushed the Eagles ahead 11-0 before the Purple Hurricanes put a point on the scoreboard.
Eastside limited Monroe Area to just 6 points in the first quarter, closing the period on a 12-6 run after Willie Taylor scored the Purple Hurricanes first shot from the floor with 4:35 to go in the period. The Eagles hit another pair of 3-pointers from Marquise Sims and Henderson before the half closed, carrying a 23-6 advantage into the second period.
The Eagles opened the second quarter with a Rodney Boykin layup and a thunderous dunk off a steal by Timothy Haynes, pushing their lead to as many 28 in the period. Eastside went on an 11-2 run to bury the Purple Hurricanes, outscoring Monroe Area 19-9 to take a 42-15 advantage into halftime. The Eagles’ lone weakness in the first half was Monroe Area’s ability to get to the foul line, as the Purple Hurricanes score seven of their nine points from the charity stripe.
Eastside’s starters played little in the second half, but Henderson made the most out of his short time on the court. Henderson scored 12 points in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Adams added six in the period.
Monroe Area and Eastside traded 3-pointers in the middle of the quarter, with Henderson’s final shot behind the arc falling with 3:22 to go in the period to push Eastside’s advantage to 55-22. Monroe Area outscored the Eagles 10-6 after Henderson’s jumper, but the Eagles still held a sizable 29-point advantage going into the final quarter of play.
“(Henderson is) a premier shooter … and he’s heating up,” Freeman said. “He was looking good in warm-ups and I saw that assassin’s look he gets from time to time."
An 8-0 scoring run for the Eagles sealed the win, as eight different Eagles scored in the quarter to close out the 37-point victory.
Freeman said his team’s defensive communication has improved, as Eastside forced the Purple Hurricanes into 20 turnovers.
Taylor finished with a team-high 11 points for Monroe Area.