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Lady Dragons offense proves too much for Eastside girls basketball in the Region 8-AAAAA title game
Morgan Sandema (10) drives to the basket in the Lady Eagles loss to Jefferson in the Region 8-AAAAA championship game on Friday. - photo by Garrett Pitts

JEFFERSON, Ga. — The Eastside Lady Eagles fell to the host Jefferson Lady Dragons 84-51 in the Region 8-AAAAA championship game on Friday. In the end, the Lady Dragons offense was too much from the opening possession onward.

It did not take long into the contest for Jefferson to get the three ball working.

Perimeter shooting became the part of the Lady Dragons’ game that put them ahead of the Lady Eagles early.

The one Lady Dragon leading that area was Emeri Billings, who scored all of her points from beyond the arc. 

In fact, two of Jefferson’s three opening scores were three pointers from Billings

By the end of the first frame, the Lady Eagles were down 22-9.

In the eyes of Lady Eagles head coach Gladys King, Jefferson's movement on the offensive end was a big factor in Friday’s outcome.

“They were quicker, they were faster. They moved the ball very well,” King said. “I thought we had a plan. We did not get out beyond the three-point line like we wanted to. They moved us around and got us all out of sorts.”

When the two teams went into the locker room at halftime, Jefferson’s lead was 52-24.

Eastside’s best play came in the second half, due in part to Jailyn Williams and Aysia Spivey.

The two combined to be the main offensive output for the Lady Eagles on Friday. By games end, the two combined for 32 points.

Despite this, Jefferson’s lead that was created early in the game proved to be too much of a hole for the Lady Eagles to dig out of.

The Lady Dragons scored an additional 16 points in the final frame to put a close on their region title-winning performance.

The Lady Eagles began the region tournament with a68-38 win over Winder-Barrow in Monday’s quarterfinals. On Wednesday, Eastside advanced to the championship game with a 52-47 win against Loganville.

Following Eastside’s region title game loss, it will now turn to the Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Lady Eagles will enter the state playoffs as a No. 2 seed.

Following the game, King spoke about her message to her players as they move on to the next stage of the season.

“My message to the girls was, ‘Don’t hold your head down. You have come a long way, you still have Tuesday. All is not lost,'” King said. “There are some things we need to take care of — we can’t beat ourselves. We can’t get down on ourselves, because at the end of the day there is a new day. This is not the end, it is what you do afterwards.’”