WALNUT GROVE, Ga. — The Eastside boys’ and girls’ basketball teams suited up Tuesday evening as they took on the Walnut Grove Warriors with both clubs looking to climb up the Region 8-AAAAA standings.
Though the Lady Eagles fell short against a tough Lady Warriors team that had all the answers, the boys’ team avenged its loss from earlier in the year against the Warriors.
Walnut Grove Girls 46, Eastside Girls 38
The Lady Warriors (10-8, 7-2) would not go away against the Lady Eagles (3-11, 3-7) as a rough first quarter would bury Eastside.
Early on, the Warriors were getting unlimited opportunities in transition as nearly all of the first-quarter points allowed by Walnut Grove happened on the fast break.
The second quarter would show the Lady Warriors slip up, as they would open the quarter with four straight turnovers, however it would not come back to bite as they would continue to slow down the Eastside offensive attack time and time again, forcing a score of 23-14 going into halftime.
The Lady Eagles opened up the third quarter with multiple turnovers which allowed the Lady Warriors to extend their lead even more as the quarter progressed. The fourth quarter would be the Lady Eagles’ best quarter of the game. They pulled within six points, but the Lady Warriors just kept finding answers and increasing the lead just enough to close out the game at 46-38.
Freshman Kailiel Kracht led the Eagles offensively as the guard would finish the game with 13 points after a big fourth quarter.
Following the loss to Walnut Grove, the Lady Eagles will look to finish off their season strong as they will go on the road to play the Johnson Knights (4-11, 0-7) this Friday, Jan. 29.
Eastside Boys 53, Walnut Grove Boys 44
The Eastside (10-6, 8-3) boys’ basketball team avenged their loss from earlier in the year with a hard-fought road win over Walnut Grove (8-10, 7-4).
The first quarter was close between the tough region foes, but early on the Eagles were able to move the ball and create good shooting opportunities. After starting out the quarter leading 6-0, the Eagles slowed down as the quarter went on as they closed out the opening period with a 10-7 lead.
A few bad turnovers for the Warriors allowed the Eagles to increase their lead with the help of senior Jaylen Woods, who was able to knock down shots on the perimeter to begin a big run.
"[Woods] is in a zone, him being able to shoot outside and come inside for layups is a deadly combination,” Eastside head coach Dorrian Randolph said.
A last-second shot by senior Jayce Douglas landed as the Eagles capped off an excellent second quarter. They went into the break with a 27-14 lead.
In the third quarter, the Eagles would continue to hold the lead, but the Warriors began to climb back into the game, setting up what would be a big final quarter for Walnut Grove.
The Eastside defense began to falter in the final quarter as the Warriors continued to get inside the paint, eventually shortening the lead to 41-38 for the Eagles.
"[Defense] is where we really need to still improve on," Randolph said. "[Tuesday] we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds where we just did not get a body on somebody."
With just under a minute left and winning by three, Woods knocked down a key 3-pointer and followed it up with a steal to shift all the momentum back to the Eagles.
Two free-throws from senior Jaylen Lelie-Johnson put the dagger in the Eagles’ 53-44 win.
Woods was the key for the Eagles in the win as he finished with 20 points on the night, while junior Raje Benton finished the game with 13 points.
After extending their win streak to six games, the Eagles will look to continue the hot streak leading to the end of the season as they go to play the Jackson Knights (3-12, 1-8) on Friday, Jan. 29.