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Eastside falls to Franklin

COVINGTON - Eastside's basketball teams had moments of greatness but they could not overcome a pair of Class AAA top 10-ranked teams as Franklin County swept the doubleheader Tuesday night.

The Eastside boys (2-5 overall, 1-2 Region 8-AAA) dropped a 60-48 decision to the No. 3 Lions (7-1, 3-0), while the Lady Lions 8-0, 3-0) proved why they are the No. 1 team with a 68-46 win over the Lady Eagles (2-3, 1-2).

BOYS

Franklin County 60, Eastside 48

The Eagles' slow start put them in a hole they were unable to get out of as the Lions jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Eastside's Cameron Robinson, who finished with a team-high 21 points, scored the first points for the Eagles.

"We didn't play with any poise from the very beginning," Eastside coach Michael Gerald said. "We neglected some things, but, once we were able to gather ourselves and start reflecting on what we worked on in practice, that was when we started getting points."

Trailing 15-5 after the opening period, the Eagles kept up for the most part with Franklin County to close the first half trailing 30-18.

However, the third quarter saw the Eagles come out on fire as they closed the gap to 39-34 before Georgia-bound Demario Mayfield scored at the buzzer to make it 41-34.

"Most games are won or lost in the third quarter, so we had to make our push in the third quarter," Gerald said. "I've always been under the impression that teams that press don't like to be pressed in return. They put so much emphasis on the Mayfield kid that they turned it over a little bit."

Although the Eagles tried, they were unable to make up any more ground in the fourth quarter.

Neal Latimiore also scored in double-figures for Eastside, finishing with 13 points.

"One of the things Cameron worked on in the offseason was his confidence. Neal always has a gusty performance," Gerald said. "Those two guys are two people that we know we have to have some production out of."

Mayfield led all scorers with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

GIRLS

Franklin County 68, Eastside 46

The Lady Eagles ran with the top team in Class AAA for the first minute of the game before turnovers began to take their toll.

Franklin County scored five points as a result of turnovers to take a 7-2 lead.

"I thought we came out strong with a lot of energy," Eastside coach Jason Grooms said. "They came out pressing us and actually I thought worked in our favor because it got us in some transition; that's where we're at our best. I felt we had some turnovers that were unforced, that we really didn't need to have. It's something we need to work on."

The Lady Eagles were able to take the lead, 11-10, on a Jade Cook basket.

Eastside led until Lady Lions' Ashley Harris hit two 3-pointers in a row to give Franklin County a 19-16 lead.

Turnovers and fouls, 12 each in the first half, continued to plague the Lady Eagles in the second half.

"That was not planned, that's for sure," Gerald said. "We have to quit doing reaching fouls and fouling a long way from the basket. We can't put teams on the line."

Franklin County, behind Harris who scored 22 points, 20 coming in the first half, jumped on top of the Lady Eagles in the second frame to take to 43-22 lead into the locker room.

After getting outscored 16-10 at the end of the third, the Lady Eagles mounted a small but unsuccessful comeback in the final quarter.

Behind Raven Williams, who led Eastside with 18 points, and Paige Alexander, who finished with nine points and five rebounds, Eastside ended its charge with five more points, 14-9, than Franklin County.

"(Williams) is really our spark plug," Grooms said. She plays with a lot of energy. We have a couple of other girls that score for us but we need some more girls to step up and contribute more in the scoring end."

Cook also had a double-digit scoring effort with 11 points.

"I was really pleased with Paige Alexander," Grooms said. "She's been our best post presence. I really like a lot of the things that she's doing."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.