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Lady Eagles catch upset bug
Adriana Spears drives to the basket against Marist in the opening round of the Class AAAA state basketball tournament.

The upset bug made its way around Newton County this weekend, and the Lady Eagles proved Saturday that they weren’t immune to the disease.

The Eastside girls varsity basketball team dropped a 56-51 decision to visiting Marist in the opening round of the Class AAAA state basketball tournament, ending their season short as Region 8-AAAA’s No. 2 seed.

Jymara Smith was the lone Lady Eagle to score in double figures, and a big second half from the Lady War Hawks’ Dominique Oden erased a 28-26 Lady Eagles’ halftime lead.

Oden scored 11 points in the third quarter and led all scorers with five points in the final period of play, helping Marist advance to the second round of the tournament.

The loss ends an up-and-down season for the Lady Eagles, who finished with a 15-14 overall record and a 4-5 mark in region play.

“They just made more shots,” Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. “That’s what it came down to. It was that simple. Both teams fought hard and we both played well. They just hit a few more shots at the end.”

Despite leading by two at halftime, Eastside struggled in the third quarter, surrendering 17 points in the period to the Lady War Hawks.

Marist retook the lead with four minutes to go in the quarter on an Oden baseline drive, but Eastside tied the game at 37 with a D.J. Saintilus layup. Marist ended the quarter on a 6-4 spurt, pushing its lead to as much as five before Janelle Cook knocked down a runner in the lane.

Cook’s basket sent the Lady Eagles into the fourth quarter down 43-41, but Eastside didn’t give in. The Lady Eagles tied the game twice in the fourth quarter, despite trailing by as many as five, knotting the game with a 51-51 on a Deshantra Kelly 3-pointer with 2:17 remaining.

Kelly’s basket was the last score for the Lady Eagles, and Marist knocked down five of its final six free-throw attempts, sealing the game at the line.

Smith was held to just two points in the final eight minutes, while four different Lady War Hawks scored three or more points in the fourth.