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Clarke Central eliminates Eastside 68-45

DACULA - The Eastside boys scored only 12 points combined in the second and third quarters of Tuesday night's late game in the Region 8-AAAA tournament at Dacula High School.

That proved to be the difference as Clarke Central advanced to the quarterfinals with a 68-45 victory over the Eagles (12-13).

The Gladiators (10-14) move on to play Heritage (19-6), the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAA South, in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. today. The winner of that game earns a berth in the state tournament.

The Eagles started the game on a strong note, taking the lead twice in the first quarter. Gabe Mathis fired in eight points, including two 3-pointers, for Eastside.

With Clarke Central holding a 16-15 lead, the Gladiators reeled off a 14-2 run that started near the end of the first quarter and concluded about halfway through the second quarter.

Clarke Central built a 30-17 lead before Eastside's Cameron Robinson scored his team's first bucket of the period. Robinson followed with a 3-pointer and Artis Clanton added a free throw as the Eagles closed their deficit to 32-24 by halftime, despite only scoring seven points in the second frame.

The Gladiators' press was the difference in the second period. Clarke Central forced seven turnovers and limited Eastside to just five field goal attempts.

Things didn't improve much for the Eagles in the third quarter.

Eastside managed just one field goal - on a 12-foot jumper by Andrico Bailey - and scored just five points in the period.

The Gladiators took advantage of Eastside's offensive woes to increase their advantage 42-29.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles finally matched their offensive output of the first period by scoring their 17th point since first frame with 5:24 left in the contest - a span of 18 minutes, 36 seconds.

But Eastside never mounted a serious comeback and saw its season come to an end.

Mathis paced the Eagles with 12 points, while Robinson finished with nine.

Sirnatra Lumpkin scored a game-high 18 points for Clarke Central. Taylor Layne added 13, Desmont Gantt chipped in 11 and John Wilson finished with 10.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.