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Eastside Lady Eagles 2019-2020 Basketball Preview: Lady Eagles hopeful to end state playoff drought
T'niah Douglas
Lady Eagles T'Niah Douglas should play a pivotal role for the Lady Eagles in their quest to get back to state. Photo by Michael Pope.

Last season the Eastside Lady Eagles, who finished with an 11-13  overall record and a 6-8 record, fell in the first round of the region tournament matchup in the final seconds against Woodward Academy that was deemed "controversial" by members of the viewing public.

The Lady Eagles are not focusing on this loss, but are ready to get back in action with their strong core of seniors leading the way for their squad. King is happy with her senior group, and it gives her the options to try personnel groupings.

"With this, you can bring new players on the floor and bring in two new players that would not normally be out there, but have two to three seniors out there and see how things go," said King. "That leadership helps, and certain seniors are so versatile that we can do that."

One of the Lady Eagles' most outstanding seniors is Alysee Dobbs. She is a scoring machine for the Eagles, and King knows how much of a threat she is for the opposition.

"Her ability to score inside and outside helps us out a lot," said King. "On days were not practicing, she's in the gym working to improve and help the team, and I'm very excited about her senior season."

Dobbs is on the brink of breaking into the thousand point club, and getting in there is one of her main goals. However, her main goal is to accomplish something that has not been done during her time on this team.

"I've been working for the thousand point club ever since freshman year. I didn't really think about it much until I realized I could score," said Dobbs. "I really want to win the region and go to state."

For the Lady Eagles to achieve some of these goals set out by 

Dobbs, she's going to need help. Two seniors that are listed as captains and should definitely help are T'niah Douglas and Dasia Burgess. 

"Dasia was my MVP last year and was our third-leading scorer. She works on the board. She does things that don't show up in the stat book, where she's going to hustle to the ball. She's that silent leader on the team," said King. "T'Niah can shoot, drive and attack the basket. She can score inside and out, and she's a tough and very aggressive player."

Douglas and Burgess understand that this year is their final chance to break through and do even more than just make the state playoffs, but they know that they have to work together as a team to make that happen.

"We want to get past the first round in the playoffs," said Douglas. "We have to play as a team, play smart, and have fewer turnovers."

"I want us to grow as a team bonding-wise and make it higher than just making it to state. I want to achieve bigger goals than just making it to state," said Burgess. "We need to hustle at all times."

Rounding out the senior group are Jamiyra Smith, Jakiyra Lemmon and Sydney Duren. King said each one of these players has come along in their play and have become leaders in their own way. Their leadership will be vital on and off the court throughout the season. 

As for one player that should have an impact that is not a senior, sophomore Lizzie Teasley is most definitely that player. She made her presence known last season and should play a vital role for the Eagles this season. 

"She's my ball handler. It's hard to run a program without a ball-handling point guard, and I know that was a lot of pressure for a freshman, but she handled it very well," said King. "The girls are very comfortable with her, and she knows the offense and where she needs to be at, and that's what we want."

With all these excellent offensive pieces, the Eagles are poised to make noise this season. Despite these great offensive players, King made it known that the most important thing for her team is defense, and she's hoping that this team will lock down their opponents.

"As I always tell them, and I've been saying this ever since I arrived at Eastside, the goal is we can score, but we don't want our opponents scoring," said King. "We want to put pressure on the ball. We don't want people to set up their offense freely; we make sure we get back and stop their offense."

King's expectations and goals seemed to match many of the seniors' goals, but she knows they have areas to improve, and there's one key area that she's looking for the most improvement.

"Just turnovers, silly turnovers. Turnovers that we can control," said King. "There's going to be consequences for the silly turnovers and when they do things that I've told them not to do. So let's just cut down on those silly turnovers."

If the Lady Eagles can band together and play strong defense, while allowing their main senior scorers put points on the board, then they should achieve all of their goals. 

The Lady Eagles will look to put it all together next Tuesday night, November 12th,  as they open up their season against the Heritage Patriots at the NewRock showcase at Alcovy high school.