STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - The Eastside Eagles commanded the championship match of the Greenberg and Price Annual Christmas Tournament as they won 68-52 over the host Woodland Wolfpack in a game where the Eagles led from the first quarter until the end.
The Wolfpack held an 8-7 lead about halfway through the first quarter, and then it was all Eagles. The Eagles would go on a 7-0 run to close out the first quarter and would never look back.
After holding a 15-point lead at the halftime break, the Eagles could breathe easily and coast to a lopsided victory in the championship match. The Wolfpack would only get as close as eight points in the match, and the Eagles kept them at bay throughout the contest.
Eagles head coach Michael Gerald was proud that his team came to the tournament and accomplished their goal of winning the tournament, but feels they still need to knock some rust off to get back to the way they want to play.
"We just need to finish plays. We missed a lot of layups and shots around the rim, so with teams in our region and the teams we'll see down the road, we can't do that. If we do, we're just asking for trouble," Gerald said. "They did the things we asked them to do, but it's the execution that we gotta be better at, and we will be once we get back at it."
The Eagles were once again led by excellent play from Myles Rice, who finished the championship match with 26 points and averaged 26.3 points throughout the tournament. Rice's outstanding effort earned him Most Outstanding Player honors in the tournament.
Rice attributed his success in the tournament to his teammates' talent, giving him multiple opportunities to score.
"I just saw a lot of open lanes because my teammates are so good that the defenders have to stay on them, which gives me the open space to get to the basket," Rice said.
While Rice earned the Most Outstanding Player honors, it was Jake Casola who represented the Eagles on the All-Tournament team. Gerald believes the way Casola answered the challenge issued to him made him most worthy of the honor.
"Well, we gave him some food for thought in terms of things we saw coming into the tournament that we thought he could get better at, and he accepted the challenge," Gerald said. "I thought he was pretty consistent over the last three outings in what we asked of him and that he deserved that award."
The Eagles have bounced back from their loss against the Newton Rams and have reeled off three great wins. Gerald said that the mindset after the Newton game was to "start a new streak," and that they wanted to get back to their winning ways.
They most certainly did that and will look to continue their recent string of excellent play as they turn their attention to their region schedule.
The Eagles next match will come at home against the Luella Lions on Tuesday, Jan. 7.