COVINGTON, Ga. — They are young, and they may lack some experience, but after hosting the Luella Lions Friday night, The Eastside boys basketball team can now call themselves something they have not been able to this season, winners.
It was a battle of two teams looking for their first win of the season, and entering the game Eastside coach Brent Wren and his 0-6 Eagles knew how much they needed this win, especially coming off a close loss to Henry County in overtime.
The extra motivation proved to be more than enough for the Eagles to surge past the Lions, 58-47, with the help of 21-point performance by junior guard, Caleb Woods.
“They played so hard in that Henry County game,” Wren said. “That was a game that they felt kind of got away from them, they should have won that game. Because of that there was a lag coming into this game because they are young and emotional, so we as coaches try to curve that.”
The lag seemed to be present in the first three minutes of the game, where the Lions would quickly jump out to an eight-point lead. Despite the Eagles pushing back, the Lions retained a 15-8 lead entering the second quarter.
As the clock raced towards halftime, Eastside would push back just a little more, bringing its deficit down to five points as it trailed 24-19 after two quarters.
“I always tell them, it is not how you start a game, it is how you finish,” Wren said. “They seem to take it so literal, though, but I want them to start how they have been finishing, because they have been finishing so strong. We get behind in the beginning because of that inexperience.”
Finishing strong became the theme of this story as well.
Junior Drew Perry assisted with six points followed by Woods with five points in the third quarter to give the Eagles their first lead of the game 38-34 with one quarter remaining.
The finishing got even stronger in the fourth as Eastside knew it had to maintain its aggression in order to achieve their first win of the season.
The Eagles got into a groove, playing hard and fast in the final eight minutes. Woods would add another 11 to his point total, and the Eagles’ defense would come up big, only allowing 13 more points from Luella to bring the game to its final 58-47 tally.
“I’m pleased with their fight in this game,” Wren said. “They got down early, but they stayed with it. We are looking to keep working on that experience, especially this year more than ever. We’ve gone way back to the basics of setting screens and other things.”
As far as this win and what it means moving forward, Wren jokingly stated that they won’t be 0-25.
“We take each game one at a time,” he said. “You win one, but you have to win the next one. I think it will light a spark in them. You want to make it a habit of winning, but you can’t do that until you get your first win.”
Like the Lady Eagles, the boys team will be traveling to Jones County for a tournament, where it will be looking to capitalize off this momentum-building win.