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Eastside Eagles sweep quarterfinals, clinch playoff berth

JEFFERSON, Ga. — Both Eastside Eagles squads clinched playoff berths on Monday at the Region 8-AAAAA tournament at Jefferson High School.

The Eagles’ boys team defeated Loganville 64-60 before the Lady Eagles beat Winder-Barrow 65-39 to advance to the semifinals.

Eagles fight off Red Devils to advance

Eastside fought off a late Loganville rally on Monday to advance to the semifinals of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament and clinch a playoff berth.

After taking a 50-38 lead midway through the fourth quarter, it looked as though the Eagles may have finished off the Red Devils.

 However, Loganville preyed on Eastside fouls to slowly creep back into the game. A 12-point lead quickly disappeared, and the match was even at 58 with just one minute remaining.

45 seconds passed without either team connecting on a shot, but a jumper by Marion Eubanks broke the silence and gave Eastside the lead once again. 

A kicked ball out of bounds gave the Eagles the ball as Trebor Edwards sank two foul shots to put the game out of reach for the Red Devils and ensure a second consecutive return to the playoffs for Eastside.

Head coach of the Eagles, Dorrian Randolph, said he admired his teams' ability to recover for the offseason after a three-game skid.

“We had some big turnovers, and Loganville did a great job putting pressure on us and got it back to a tie game, but the way my guys were able to compose themselves,” Randolph said. “We’ve been there before, but they were able to go ahead and close it out.”

Randolph said that the team wanted more than just their foot in the door for the 2024 playoffs, and stressed that this win was just the first step.

“We want to continue to build that winning championship culture,” Randolph said. “So the goal of the state playoffs being met for the second year in a row and three out of my first four years, it just sets a precedent for the program. Also for the younger kids coming up so they can see what it takes to be able to play on the varsity level and how hard you’ve got to work on a day in and day out basis.”

To start the game, the Red Devils came out swinging, taking a nine-point advantage over the Eagles. A Trebor Edwards bomb from deep snapped the Loganville run with less than two minutes to go in the first, followed in a flash by a Josiah Johnson layup to cut the lead to just four. 

The Eagle defense kept pulling down defensive boards as an Edwards three punctuated an Eastside run to give them a 15-13 lead at the end of the period.

Eastside kept scoring, but could not shake off Loganville, who seemed to have found new life in the second quarter. The Red Devils took control late in the half, but it was the Eagles who found themselves on top at halftime. 

The Eagles maintained the edge through the second half, letting the lead change just once again in the third quarter. A cut-through layup by Robbert Thomas made sure the Eagles would not trail for the rest of the game.

Eastside will face No. 1 seed Winder-Barrow on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament. The Bulldoggs are 11-1 in the region with their only loss coming from Jefferson on Dec. 15. 

Lady Eagles handle the Lady Bulldoggs to move on

Eastside was firing on all cylinders on Monday in a 68-38 rout of Winder-Barrow to advance to the semifinals of the Region 8-AAAAA playoffs and secure a spot in the playoffs.

The Lady Eagle defense kept the ball out of the Bulldogg’s side of the court, only allowing two first-quarter points. 

Jailyn Williams put the extra time of possession to good use with 18 points, including 12 in the first half. Eastside was up by 20 points at the break, but its dominance on the court did not stop.

Coming out of the locker room, Aysia Spivey set the tone once again, snatching the ball from a Winder-Barrow player and leaving space for a shot by Williams. Senior Kaliel Kracht hit a shot from behind the arc, negating the only made bucket from the Lady Bulldoggs in the third quarter.

Winder-Barrow outscored Eastside in the fourth, but the 32-point lead proved too much for the Bulldoggs. 

Williams and junior Morgan Sandema both had double-digit outings, with Kracht and Spivey each having nine points. The offensive explosion cemented a spot for the Lady Eagles in the state playoffs for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.

“It means a lot,” said head coach Gladys King. “For Eastside, we have not had that opportunity to make it. We’ve been close and we didn’t make it, but now we punched that ticket.”

King said that to find success in the tournament and beyond, her team must focus on the task at hand.

“Just staying focused,” King said. “Staying focused and playing within ourselves and doing the things we work on. Not anything else, just the things we work on and playing as a team.”

Eastside moves on in the Region 8-AAAAA tournament to face No. 2 seed Loganville on Wednesday. Loganville beat Eastside in their last meeting, but the Lady Eagles took the victory in their first meeting of the season, winning 46-39.