For the first time this season, Newton and Eastside’s basketball teams will face-off, continuing a rivalry that has been a thing since Eastside was established in the mid ‘90s. The Lady Rams are 4-1 and the boys are undefeated at 5-0. The Eagles haven’t played as many games yet, but both the girls and boys are 1-1.
Lady Eagles vs. Lady Rams
What to watch: Both teams bring pressure defense and force the opposition into a lot of turnovers. This should be a defensive game, but it could turn into a high-scoring affair if Eastside and/or Newton get out in the open court and create scoring opportunities on the fastbreak.
Notable players: The Rams’ freshman guard Alexcia Chatman is a heck of a scorer. Chatman is a good shooter with the confidence to pull from anywhere on the court and the skill to knock it down. There’s also Kayana Henderson for Newton, who has scored 30 points in a game already this season.
For Eastside, Janelle Cook, Teirra Brown and Raynesha Clay are the Lady Eagles’ “Big Three.” Both Cook and Clay are stout on defense and Cook is great in the open court with her ability to penetrate make one move and get an easy layup or knock down a mid range jumper. Brown is the floor general and makes the offense work. She can also score when called upon.
Rams vs. Eagles
What to watch: One the thing the Rams are always going to be able to do under Rick Rasmussen is play good defense. Newton, although the competition they’ve played so far is less than stellar, has allowed its opponents to score over 50 points just once. Eastside will be Newton’s first real test of the season. The Eagles don’t have a high-potent offense but they can put points on the board. Newton will also be missing its 6-foot-6 center Josh Tukes in the middle, losing its size advantage and making it easier for the Eagles to get to the hole.
Notable players: The Rams’ D.J. Hill has been a sight to see so far this season. Hill had a career-high 21 points on Tuesday to go along with seven assists. Jaquan Simms has been playing well also. He had 14 against Heritage and nine points and seven assists on Tuesday. Simms can knock down the three. Eastside’s sophomore guard Isaiah Miller is porbably the team’s best player and for good reason. Miller is a tenacious on defense and plays with the grit and grind DNA that coach Gregory Freeman has instilled in the team. Miller can also knock down shots with the best of them. He had 17 points on Tuesday. J.J. Saxton, who had 15 points Tuesday, is a tall power forward, who can knock down mid-range shots and get to the foul line. He’s also a good rebounder.