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Eastside boys basketball begins second half of season focused
Eastside Eagles Basketball
Eastside boys basketball coach Dorrian Randolph looks on during his team's 52-50 win over region foe Jefferson on Tuesday. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — Eastside’s home Region 8-AAAAA match with Jefferson came down to the wire on the second day of 2024. The game went final with the Eagles pulling out their second region victory of the year 52-50. 

But the Dragons had one more opportunity to either tie or win it with 1.4 seconds remaining in the contest. 

However, that attempt was taken away when Jason Carter flew in the air, intercepted the inbound pass and that was all she wrote. 

As Carter came down with the steal, the clock hit 0:00 and only two words came to head coach Dorrian Randolph’s mind. 

“Thank God,” Randolph said, “because we just got back from Florida where we had a [four]-overtime game that we won by three. I was like, I don’t want to go into overtime again. So thank God he intercepted it.”

The intense atmosphere seemingly remained from tip-off.  

At the end of the opening frame, the Eagles led 10-6 with a 26-21 halftime advantage. By the end of the third quarter, Jefferson drew to within one point, trailing 38-37. 

It was the Eagles who ultimately prevailed, though, with the narrow victory. 

Nine players cracked the score sheet in the win, too. 

Trebor Edwards recorded a team-high 17 points followed by Marion Eubanks Jr.’s eight and Damien Davey’s six, which all came from beyond the arc. 

Randolph credited Tuesday’s two-point win to the program’s trip to compete in the Panama City Classic in Florida. 

“The Florida trip, it shows that we were able to go up there and play some good teams,” Randolph said. “Took some lumps on the head, but able to handle adversity. For them to miss the free throws and move on to the next play is kind of what we always say. You don’t ever want to make two bad decisions in a row. It showed the kids are better able to handle adversity.” 

Eastside played in three games from Dec. 28-30 in Florida for the tournament. The Eagles went 1-2 with the one win being the aforementioned, four-overtime win. 

The Eagles defeated Pleasure Ridge Park — from Kentucky — 65-62 to begin the team’s two-game winning streak. 

That win was preceded by two defeats, but Randolph believes an even bigger win was achieved by his players. 

“We always take a trip during the Christmas break,” Randolph said. “Spend time with guys hanging in the rooms, stay up and play video games. We were on the beach, so they were able to get in the hot tub. Just little experiences that they may never have again and, at the same time, be able to have it with your brother. That just brings you closer.” 

Randolph went on to say that the closeness of the players and coaches on this 2023-24 squad is the biggest area he has seen the most growth in. 

With the most recent wins, Eastside improves to 7-7 overall with a 2-2 mark in region play. As a result of the win over Jefferson, in particular, the Eagles jumped up from sixth to fourth in the region standings. 

When asked how his 2024 has started off, Randolph did not hesitate to respond — “It’s starting off great.” Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of his team to keep pushing forward with the second half of the season underway. 

“It’s a new year and we have a new focus. We’re 1-0 in the region starting the new year. That’s the No. 1 team, that’s the standard right there and that’s what we talked about. To get a win against them hopefully sends a quiet message to the rest of the region that the first half we took our bumps and bruises, but now we’re ready to focus and play ball.”