McDONOUGH, Ga. — The Eastside Eagles took care of business on the road against the McDonough Warhawks, but it came down to the final play of the game with the Eagles making a defensive stop to secure the 46-45 victory.
With 1:11 left to play, the Eagles star player Myles Rice fouled out, and other members of his team would have to step up with him off the floor. They would do just that as they forced the Warhawks to take a tough shot that would bounce off the front of the rim as the buzzer reverberated through the gym.
Eagles head coach Michael Gerald could finally breathe a sigh of relief as these guys helped locked down the single-point victory, but with the history of these two teams, he knew this game would not come easy.
"I just knew that coming over here with the history and the way they play that it was going to be one of those things where we would have to overcome their physical play. We learned a lot from each other at that moment," Gerald said. "We had a couple of guys that stepped up, Jaylen Woods right there at the end made two tough back-to-back 3s. Jaylen Johnson stepped up big, and no one will look at this, but I thought Jayce (Douglas) did a great job of taking the pressure off of Myles (Rice). He did a great job of pushing the ball up the court."
Gerald also highlighted Miokaye Grant for his excellent play in the post and was much more pleased with the team's overall post play. Eagles Chauncey Wiggins finished with 12 points and the second-highest scorer for his team, but Gerald is still waiting for Wiggins to put it all together.
"We're waiting for him (Wiggins) to put both ends of the court together. I need him to have the same aggression on both sides of the ball," Gerald said. "We got more from our post in terms of rebounding and making attempts to go get it. Playing tough, I thought we were better at that today."
Woods was actually the leading scorer with 14 points, but what he did without the ball in his hands was impressive to Gerald as well.
"He made some plays and not just making shots, but he made some good passes, played tough on the boards, and got some tough offensive rebounds," Gerald said. "I just like the commitment he has and how he tries to give the team whatever we need at any time."
The Eagles struggled around the basket in this game, but Gerald remains hopeful that those types of high-percentage shots will fall more in the future.
The Eagles will look to build on their four-game win streak on Friday as they take on the North Clayton Eagles at home in another crucial region match.