Looking at their record (5-10, 4-3 Region 4-AAAA) you would think that the Lady Eagles of Eastside are struggling through this basketball season. But for their sake, they are above .500 where it matters, with a 4-3 record in Region 4-AAAA play. Eastside was able to pick up its fourth region win of the season on Friday night with a 58-50 win over Eagle’s Landing. With that win, Eastside has won three straight region games.
Janelle Cook was back to her old tricks again as she dropped an easy 20 points for the Eagles, with her silky smooth three-point shot. Cook hit five threes in the game. She was able to get in the paint and create havoc.
“She’s a highly skilled player,” Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. “Now she’s really coming to her own.”
Raynesha Clay had a solid performance for the Lady Eagles with her offensive aggression and effort that led to 14 points.
Offensively, Eastside seems to be building confidence and chemistry with its starters and bench players. With Cook being the primary scorer, point guard Teirra Brown uses her three point shot to be effective, and she is capable of knocking down some floaters in the lane. Raynesha Clay uses her aggression to give Eastside somewhat of an inside presence, and senior Deja Saintilus is good on the offensive boards.
The problem with the Lady Eagles that showed even in their defeat of Eagle’s Landing is their defense. Throughout that game, Eastside controlled the game and led comfortably for most of the game. But, the Lady Eagles made that game closer than it should have been due to their defense in the fourth quarter that cut their lead down to three points. They have gotten better on defense since earlier in the season, but they can still have some defensive lapses in games that can lead to big runs by the opposing team.
At this point in the season, it seems the Lady Eagles are catching their stride. They are still trying to find their identity, and it shows with the ups and downs of their season. Earlier in the season, they struggled in their non-region schedule getting blown out by both county rival teams Alcovy and Newton. They didn’t get the start they wanted in region play by losing their first three region games, but its culminated into three straight wins in the region and that’s where the games matter.
Jackson has got his team to settle in and they are starting to get into a groove. His players are improving game by game and as a coach that’s all you can ask for. The rest of the schedule looks favorable for Eastside except for two games against a good Henry County team. The Lady Eagles just want to be playing their best ball by the time of the region tournament.
“Anything you do, 90 percent of it is confidence,” Jackson said. “Having those players believe in themselves, it starts in the classroom and just matriculates down to game time.”