Eastside’s senior shooting guard Adriana Spears scored 18 points and Janelle Cook came off the bench to add 10 points as the Lady Eagles dominated the Walnut Grove Lady Warriors 68-42 in a Region 8-AAAA matchup Tuesday night.
The Lady Eagles improved to 9-7 overall, while Walnut Grove fell to 8-10.
Spears led all scorers, while Brianna Faulk paced the Lady Warriors with 14 points.
“We played ‘Eastside defense,’ pressure, pressure, pressure,” Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. “We shot the ball well. We played as a team. We executed and fought ourselves out of a slump (0-3 in the previous three games). I’m proud that the girls responded well, especially this being a region game.”
It was a sloppy, turnover-filled first quarter for both teams, with Eastside taking a slim 16-14 lead.
The early portion of second quarter wasn’t much better for the Lady Eagles. They went nearly four minutes without a point, and Walnut Grove grabbed a 21-20 lead with 5:40 left in the half. However, Spears started to find her range, finishing the quarter with eight points – 14 in the half, and Deshantra Kelly hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Eastside a 31-24 lead at halftime.
According to Jackson, Kelly’s buzzer-beater sparked the Lady Warriors in the second half.
“I was really proud of Kelly handling the ball – shooting the ball, especially at the end of the half,” Jackson explained. “(Kelly) hitting that three gave us confidence and sparked us and gave us a little more energy to come out for the second half.”
That spark was apparent early, as the Lady Eagles scored two quick buckets to take a 35-25 lead with 7:15 left in the third. Walnut Grove hit a 3-pointer to start the quarter, but strong defense and relentless pressure caused the Lady Warriors to go more than five minutes without a point as Eastside increased its lead to 48-31 after three.
A 3-point bucket, a steal and a basket put Eastside up 53-31 less than a minute into the fourth quarter. Jackson emptied his bench midway through the quarter, and the Lady Warriors went on cruise-control until the final horn.
Eastside returns to action tonight against the Chestatee War Eagles (15-3) in another Region 8AAAA game. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Chestatee in Gainesville.