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No. 10 Eastside knocks off No. 6 Henry County, No. 2 Newton stays unbeaten
Jerry Mays
Jerry Mays of Eastside prepares to square up to attempt a three-point shot. Mays converted five from behind the arc and finished with 18 points, helping Eastside defeat Henry County 78-71. - photo by Anthony Banks | The Covington News

The Eastside Eagles checked into the high school boys basketball rankings this week at No. 10, and they looked every bit the part of a top 10 program while pulling of a mild 78-71 upset over No. 6 Henry County Tuesday night at Eastside. 

It was a monster win for the Eagles (5-1) whose only loss has come at the hands of Class AAAAAAA No. 2 Newton. Henry County was the preseason No. 1 ranked team in Class AAAA, thanks in large part to a pair of NCAA Division I caliber guards. 

But on Tuesday it was Eastside that played at high caliber. 

The Eagles found scoring balance from three players — Dez Dyer, Keiodre Perry and Jerry Mays — hitting double figures. Dyer had a team-high 20 points, while Perry and Mays tallied 19 and 18 points respectively. 

It was a tight game throughout, with Eastside grabbing an early 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter before settling for a 30-30 tie at halftime. 

Henry County’s Javon Greene went off for a game-high 31 points, but the Eagles defense was able to hold the Warhawks’ other stud, Damion Rosser, to just seven on the night. 

Perhaps more importantly than Henry County being a ranked foe, the win against the Hawks gave Eastside a 2-0 mark in Region 4-AAAA as it prepares to travel to Luella for another region matchup on Friday. Coach Brent Wren’s team will then take part in the Jones County Holiday Tournament December 19-21. 

Meanwhile, the Eastside girls lost its game to Henry County 65-40, also on Tuesday night. Nia Davis had a team-high 13 points, and freshman Alysse Dobbs pitched in with nine. The Lady Eagles (1-7) are still working to find their stride with a young squad that features three freshmen starters, such as Dobbs. They will also face Luella Friday night in a region contest. 


No. 2 Newton boys stay perfect


Isaiah Miller and J.D. Notae each had 20 points, and Ashton Hagans chimed in with 19 as the second-ranked Rams got past Grayson, 72-66 in a Region 8-AAAAAAA tussle on the road. The win pushed Newton to 9-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA play. It also gave coach Rick Rasmussen’s team a 4-0 mark in its four game road stand. 

The game probably wasn’t as tight as the final score indicated, though, as Newton, at one point, inched toward a 20-point advantage — it led 50-36 at the end of the third quarter before Rasmussen began pulling starters. Grayson actually knocked down an uncontested three-pointer at the fourth quarter buzzer to give the appearance of a tighter game. 

Newton’s undefeated start is grabbing them much accolades, as has the Rams listed as the No. 1 team in Georgia, and No. 8 nationally.

Rasmussen’s bunch will next play host to Whitefield Academy. And while he’s glad to have a 9-0 squad right now, the coach says he has no unrealistic visions of grandeur about where his team is right now. 

“We made it through the four game road swing unblemished, and are now highly ranked with a bullseye on our backs as a result,” he said. “We just need to improve and be humble about where we are. We have a lot of room for improvement offensively and defensively. We have a long ways to go before we can talk about being state contenders.” 

Notae added to his career scoring total Tuesday night, just several days removed from reaching the 1,000 point mark for his career this past weekend. Rasmussen said the team will honor Notae’s milestone during halftime of the girls’ home game against Whitefield on December 22.