McDONOUGH - A 17-point third quarter wasn't enough for the Eastside girls basketball team as the Lady Eagles were outscored the other three quarters of their 55-39 loss to Forest Park in the first round of the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Hooptacular on Wednesday.
"I'm very proud of them because we all know they played extremely hard. You can't take it for granted, that effort," Eastside coach Jason Grooms said. "We had a 17-point third quarter and you put a couple of those quarters back to back and you're in good shape."
Ashley Burtts paced the Lady Eagles (1-5) with a team-high 21 points.
Eastside took the lead on the first basket of the game off a Burtts shot before losing it on a Kathleen Sengsavath 3-pointer. Burtts gave the Lady Eagles the lead three times in the first period, but it would not be enough.
Olivia Lee gave the Lady Panthers a lead they would never relinquish, making the score 12-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Forest Park extended its dominance in the second frame as it scored nine straight points before Eastside's Shay Shepherd made it 21-13 with four minutes left in the opening half.
However, in the third quarter, the Lady Eagles went into a higher gear, scoring 17 points to Forest Park's nine. What was once a 12-point Forest Park lead quickly turned to only two-point advantage, at 34-32.
"Coming out in the second half, we said if we're going to go down, we're going to go down playing full-court man. I think that really changed the tempo for us and allowed us to get some good looks in transition," Grooms said. "With a young team and the speed that we have, transition is when we look our best. We have trouble scoring half court and we probably always will, so we're going to make opportunities to get transition baskets."
The Lady Eagles were unable to continue their success in the fourth frame as Forest Park scored easy baskets from the low post.
The Lady Panthers took a 50-34 before Burtts scored the first field goal of the fourth period for the Lady Eagles, a 3-pointer with 1:42 left in the game.
Jade Cook also scored in double figures for the Lady Eagles with 10 points.
Forest Park had three players, Sengsavath, Nicole Wilson and Jessica Franklin, with 10 points.
Eastside will play Stockbridge, who lost 53-49 to Union Grove, at 10 a.m. Friday at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy.
"I'm seeing improvement and as a coach that's what it's all about, especially this time of year," Grooms said.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.