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PREP BASKETBALL: Eastside splits region contests versus Clarke Central
EHS split
Eastside boys improved to 9-7 after defeating region foe Clarke Central on Friday. - photo by Anthony Banks | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — When the Clarke Central Gladiators came to town on Friday night, both Eastside teams were looking for two straight wins.  

The Lady Eagles fell short in their comeback losing 46-34 while the Eagles’ defense led the way for a 56-43 win. 

Eagles 56, Gladiators 43 

Coming off a dominant road win where they only allowed 29 points, the Eagles continued their strong defensive game plan early on against the Gladiators. 

After holding Clarke Central to under 10 points in the opening quarter, it allowed the offense to break away with a sizable lead in the second. 

The ball movement and unselfish play impressed head coach Dorrian Randolph, who has emphasized this team’s ability to get everyone involved on offense.

“[Unselfish play] is what I have told the guys from day one,” Randolph said. “When you have [only one guy who is averaging 20 points], they are easy to stop. If you have at least five guys who can get double digits, you are a hard team to stop.” 

The Eagles entered halftime with a 23-13 lead, but the team’s rebounding and shot selection started to overmatch Clarke Central as the game transitioned into the final two quarters.

Eastside’s Timothy Prather led the team in scoring during the opening half as the freshman continued to put together a stellar first year with the Eagles. Prather finished with 12, and Kassen Saunders also had 12. 

Senior Jacquez Williams led the Eagles in scoring with 13. Raje Benton racked up multiple rebounds limiting second chance opportunities for Clarke Central, too. 

After back-to-back wins in the region, Randolph likes where the team is heading. 

“It feels like we are finally starting to play as a team,” Randolph said. “We have had some other guys step up and we have put them in big time roles.” 

The win over Clarke Central moves the Eagles to 9-7 on the year with a 4-2 region record. The Eagles aimed for more region success as they faced the Loganville Red Devils Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Lady Gladiators 46, Lady Eagles 34

Though the Lady Eagles suffered a double digit loss, the game drew very close in the final eight minutes. 

Mehkyla White nailed a 3-pointer halfway through the fourth quarter to make the score 39-34. That was after Eastside began the second half down by 13. 

White’s 3-pointer however recorded the last points for the Lady Eagles. 

Down the stretch, the Lady Gladiators converted on their scoring opportunities and pulled away with a 12-point victory. 

Even so, the game was tight early on between the two schools. 

Kaliel Kracht contributed most of the early offense for the Lady Eagles with seven points in the opening quarter.

The game began to run away from the Lady Eagles in the second quarter as the Gladiators offense found success getting to the line and getting free points off fouls.

Out of the 14 points scored from Clarke Central in three quarters, over half of it came from the free-throw line.

Alongside the fouls, the turnovers were causing similar issues for the Lady Eagles as the Gladiators were able to force the ball out and rack up the steal totals going into halftime.

The mid-game breakdown from Eastside was too much to overcome as the game reached the end. 

White led the scoring for the Lady Eagles with 12 points, while Kracht finished with 10. 

The close loss to Clarke Central drops the Lady Eagles to 2-10 on the year, but they will have a chance to bounce back in another home region matchup as they take on the Loganville Red Devils Tuesday, Jan. 18.