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Eastside's defense dooms Madison County
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With a stifling defense and excellent 3-point shooting, the Eastside Lady Eagles led from start to finish and defeated the Madison County Lady Red Raiders 56-29 at home on Senior Night.

Eastside improved its record to 12-10 overall and evened its Region 8-AAAA record to 3-3. Madison Co. dropped to 5-15, 2-4 in the region.

Jymara Smith paced the Lady Eagles with 13 points, while Leah Gearing led the Lady Red Raiders with nine points. Ten Lady Eagles scored in the game and Eastside made eight 3-point shots in the dominating win.

“We were trying to get back to Eastside basketball,” Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. “We did a better job of blocking out. I told the girls we had it for three quarters and just got outmanned (in Saturday’s loss to Alcovy 62-53). I told them that that game is over. It wasn’t a region game, and these other games count. They were hyped. They were excited. They responded – defensively first – and then the shots started to fall a little bit.”

Smith and Zaria Hall-Barton got Eastside off to a blistering start. Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers and Hall-Barton blocked two Lady Red Raider shots in the first 1:30 of the game.

Hall-Barton and senior Deshantra Kelly added a bucket apiece to give the Lady Eagles a 10-3 lead after the first quarter. If not for rushing shots and lack of ball movement, the lead could’ve been much more.

Eastside used great defensive intensity and better shot selection, in the second quarter, as it went on an 11-0 run to lead 21-3 with 5:36 left in the quarter.

The Lady Red Raiders didn’t have a shot until the 4:54 mark when they made a 3-pointer. Madison County made a two-pointer, as well, but Eastside took a commanding 24-8 lead into the locker room at the half.

Madison County did come out of the locker room with more passion and poise, but the Lady Eagles defense never let up and didn’t allow many second-chance shots as they dominated the boards and led 44-19 after three quarters.

With another region game today at Lanier High School Wednesday, Jackson pulled his starter early in the fourth quarter and let his bench players get some valuable game experience, leading to the 56-29 final score.

The Lady Eagles tip off Wednesday at 6 p.m., at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, Ga.