GRIFFIN, Ga. - The Eastside Eagles regrouped At halftime and came back to defeat the Spalding Jaguars 54-45 in their tournament the Spalding Thanksgiving Classic.
The Eagles led early, but in the second quarter, they did something that their head coach Michael Gerald had never seen before in his years of coaching.
“I certainly told them that it was the first time I coached a team, and we didn’t score in a quarter,” Gerald said. “So, I really wasn’t happy about that.”
The Eagles went into the halftime break trailing the Spalding Jaguars 22-17 after not scoring a single point in the second quarter.
Such an abysmal quarter would often point to doom for a team on the road, but the Eagles bounced back in a massive way in the third quarter. The Eagles outscored the Jaguars 24-12 and took a comfortable 8-point lead.
Gerald was happy to see his team make adjustments in the second half as he believes they were taking tough shots in the second quarter as opposed to finding an easy shot.
“It was just poor execution, and we took some tough shots. Everything was from the perimeter, and when we did go to the basket, we were going expecting a foul call instead of trying to make shots,” Gerald said. “I’m glad we made the adjustments, and they listened to what we were trying to do, and the execution was better.”
The Eagles went on to outscore the Jaguars in the fourth quarter as well and walk away with the nine-point victory in the final game of this tournament.
Myles Rice and Chauncey Wiggins were the stars for the Eagles throughout tournament play, and their dominance continued in the final game. Rice again finished as the team’s leading scorer with 22 points while Wiggins was right behind him with 19 points.
Despite the strong win, Gerald continues to hammer home the point that his team needs to perform better and execute on the defensive side of the ball but went into what they need to do offensively moving forward as well.
“It’s still defense,” Gerald said when asked where his team need to most improve. “I think offensively we’ve got to get better of being in the right position, and that’s on me too, but we need to make sure the right people are shooting the basketball at the right time. I’ve got to do a better job of putting people in the right place.”
This tournament was an overall impressive showing for the Eagles, and they will ride the momentum from these games into their next game, which is their second region game of the season on the road against the McDonough Warhawks on Tuesday, Dec.3 at 7:30 p.m.