Senior guards Anthony Henderson and Treyvon Francis showed why they are hot college prospects as each scored 21 points in the Eastside Eagles' dominating 63-44 victory over Walnut Grove Tuesday night in a Region 8-AAAA action.
Eastside improved to 13-2, while the Warriors dropped to 8-10 overall.
“I thought there was a bit of a letdown after the win over Newton County,” Eastside coach Gregory Freeman said. “I thought we were business-like in our effort. But, there is an understanding now that people are going to give us their best shot. We have to play up to our record and what (our reputation is) becoming.”
The Walnut Grove Warriors gave the Eagles their best shot by jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead. But, Eastside went on a 13-0 run led by Henderson’s seven points, including two 3-point shots, and Francis added two 3-pointers during the run to give the Eagles a 9-point advantage. Senior Larry Saxton’s 3-pointer and a bucket by Daniel Oduah pushed the Eagles to an 18-6 lead after one quarter.
Walnut Grove was not going to roll over, however. Deandre Durham, who led the Warriors with 13 points, hit consecutive 3-point shots, and the Warriors went on a 10-0 run to come within two points, 18-16, with 4:30 left in the first half.
Eastside didn’t help itself as the Eagles put up several poor shots and didn’t score a point until the 3:55 mark of the second quarter. From that point, though, the Eagles righted themselves, as Henderson hit two 3-pointers and Francis added another 3-pointer to give Eastside a 31-21 lead at the half.
Henderson and Francis accounted for 22 of the Eagles’ 31 first-half points.
The two-headed monster of Henderson, who is being recruited by Tuskegee University, and Francis, who is on the radar of 2013 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen team Florida Gulf Coast University, started the third quarter as they ended the second. The duo spearheaded a 9-2 run to push the lead to 40-23 at the 4:40 mark. Then, Francis ripped off a highlight-reel play as he went coast-to-coast, made the basket and was fouled on the play. He hit the ensuing free-throw, and the Eagles led 47-31 at the end of three quarters.
Walnut Grove scratched and clawed to stay in the game, cutting the lead to 11 points, 52-41, with 3:18 left in the game. However, it was Henderson and Francis answering with 10 of Eastside’s 16 points in the quarter to seal the win 63-44.
Freeman had nothing but praise for his senior guards.
“I believe they are the best one-two guard tandem in the state. I really feel that way,” he said. “Treyvon is a point guard who has really found an offensive rhythm and makes it really hard for him to be guarded. I told an official he can score anytime he wants to. That’s taken him two years to realize, but he’s worked really hard on his offensive game and he can score inside, outside, 3-pointers – he’s fearless.”
The Eagles, currently ranked 10th in the state in AAAA by Maxpreps.com, take their high-flying show on
the road to face the Chestatee War Eagles Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Gainesville.