The Eastside Eagles punched their ticket to the Class AAAA state tournament Monday night with its 72-64 win over a scrappy Luella squad in the first round of the Region 4-AAAA tournament.
Eastside benefited from a huge night from recently named Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year Keiodre Perry on the way to its third win over the Lions this season. Perry registered a double-double, scoring 29 points and 10 rebounds. He also chipped in 4 assists and two steals.
Fellow senior Des Dyer also chimed in with a double-double of his own. His 20 points and 12 boards and three assists provided a suitable complement to Perry, as the duo helped secure Eastside’s second straight state tournament berth, and third in the last four seasons.
It’s what Perry, the 6-foot-4 senior combo guard, says the team wanted more than anything.
“Getting back to state was the goal,” Perry said. “We all think we can make some noise and make a deep run.”
But immediately in front of Perry and company is an opportunity for them to redeem themselves for the tough way last season ended.
Eastside lost 51-47 to Walnut Grove in the Region 4-AAAA semifinals last season, then lost by 12 to Eagle’s Landing in a consolation game before ending the season with a heartbreaking 70-68 loss to Westover in the first round of the state tournament.
Now, Eastside will turn its attention to Druid Hills which, as the No. 6 seed, ousted third-seeded Woodward Academy 56-46 Monday night. Eastside and Druid Hills will meet Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Woodward Academy.
The Eagles and Red Devils have played two fairly close games during the regular season, with Eastside winning both — a 64-51 overtime victory at Druid Hills back on Dec. 9, and a 76-66 triumph at home on Jan. 13.
Perry said the team will not look ahead to the state tournament while it’s region aspirations remain intact.
“Winning the region is the goal for right now,” Perry said. “That’s what everyone is focused on. And we’re taking it one game at a time.”