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PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Eagles fall behind in second half against Luella
Chasity Smith goes up for a shot against Luella during Friday night's Eastside loss in the Region 4-AAAA contest. - photo by Matthew Grimes

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Eastside Lady Eagles’ basketball team had its hands full in their third region game of the season when they faced the one-loss Luella Lions in an effort to spark an upset win. 

However, despite keeping pace with the Lions early, Luella’s aggressive play proved to be too much as the Lions pulled away for a 67-46 win, dropping the Eagles’ record to 2-5 on the season and 1-2 in region play. Sophomore Alysee Dobbs led Eastside with 12 points, and Eastside coach Gladys King didn’t mind drawing encouragement from the early-game success.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half, being that we did not have our starting point guard, Nia Davis,” King said. “We were holding our own and were just as aggressive and competitive in those first two quarters.”

Eastside opened the game’s scoring with a three pointer from D’Erica Farley. Dobbs would add six in the first quarter to help push the Eagles to a 19-17 lead at the end of one. 

Despite the aggression from Luella, especially when trying to steal the ball away from Eastside, the Eagles would keep pace in the second quarter as Dobbs added four more points, but Luella would take back the lead 31-29 at halftime. 

The second half became a different story, though. 

“When we came back in the third quarter, we kind of didn’t handle the ball pressure to well,” King said. “We kept going down the sidelines instead of keeping the ball in the middle of the floor, and there were just some fundamental things that we talked about since day one.”

Despite taking back the lead momentarily after a two-point shot from senior Chasity Smith, the Lions would go on a fast-paced 10-0 run, and they would not stop from there, as senior Kamaya Hollingshed would help take over the game, adding nine points to her point total in a game where she finished with 34. The Lions finished the third quarter outscoring the Eagles 18-9 while taking a 49-38 lead.

“When the trap came, they were just slinging the ball, and you can’t sling the ball.” King said, “We have to make sure that we are getting players to get the ball to. There were a lot of turnovers from the guards out there tonight.”

Turnovers were crucial in allowing the Lions to pull away even more in the fourth, combined with several fouls committed by the Eagles, which saw the Lions get chances to shoot from the free-throw line on six consecutive possessions, and nine times total in the last quarter. 

The Eagles could only muster eight more points, bringing their tally to 46. 

Although Coach King noted some positive takeaways early in the game, she made it clear that there was plenty to work on moving forward. 

“I’m looking to work on the turnovers more, as well as getting in the gym and working on the press and breaking it with this lineup that we have, since we will have it for a while,” she said. “But at the same time, maybe we need to move some people around.”

The Lady Eagles have just a few days to rest and strategize before making their way to Jones County for a three day tournament, Dec. 20-22.