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Eagles win close pair of games

COVINGTON - As the regular season winds down, Eastside cleaned house Friday night with a pair of wins over Morgan County.

The Lady Eagles completed its season sweep over the Lady Bulldogs 47-42.

In the boys game, the Eagles held on for the two-point victory 50-48, something they failed to do on the road against the Bulldogs earlier this season.

GIRLS

Eastside 47, Morgan County 42

Despite coming up empty from beyond the 3-point line and committing six more turnovers (19), the Lady Eagles won their second regular season game over the Lady Bulldogs.

"Well, this game was big because it was a region and home game. I felt like it was a big game to get a little momentum back because we need to play our best the next two weeks," Eastside coach Jason Grooms said.

Eastside opened the gates on an 8-0 run before Kiasa Tiller's 3-pointer gave Morgan County its first points of the night with 3:42 to go.

Tiller finished with a game-high 17 points.

Yet the Lady Eagles took a 14-10 lead after the opening quarter thanks to a 6-of-8 shooting performance from the free-throw line. Overall, they shot 47 percent (9 of 19) from the line.

In the second quarter, the script was flipped as Morgan County was 6 of 9 from the charity stripe while Eastside was just 1 of 5 from the line.

Still, the Lady Eagles led 27-24 entering halftime. Despite outrebounding Morgan County 22-13 in the first half and 42-29 for the game, Eastside committed 10 turnovers, which led to seven points scored.

"I tried to really emphasize to them that if they boxed out and limit Morgan to just one shot then we'd win," Grooms said. "I thought we boxed out pretty good, but we can do better. We're going to need to do better (tonight) against Newton."

Both teams scored 12 points apiece in the third quarter to keep Eastside ahead by three points.

The Lady Eagles clamped down on defense in the fourth frame, holding Morgan County to just six points by way of two 3-pointers from Tiller. The first came at the 3:30 mark, while the second came with 2:02 remaining to cut the deficit 45-42.

A layup by Ashley Crew with 1:25 left extended Eastside's lead to preserve the win.

"I'm really pleased that a few people stepped up and played big. That's something we might not have had in the past," Grooms said. "It shows a little sign of maturity of some people really doing a good job."

Eastside's Raven Williams scored a team-high 12 points. J'Quyra Moncur-Blue added 11 and two steals, while Crew had 10 points and eight boards. Ieisha Williams chipped in with seven rebounds.

Sharda Massey had 10 points and six boards for the Lady Bulldogs. Jasmine Davis secured a game-high 13 rebounds.

BOYS

Eastside 50, Morgan County 48

The Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive after holding on to the two-point victory.

"I just think the guys understand what's at stake, and they knew that it was very, very important that we win tonight regardless of how ugly the game was," Eastside coach Michael Gerald said. "We didn't particularly shoot the ball that well tonight, but we'll take the win."

After a sluggish start to open the first quarter, Eastside led 9-6 entering the second. Morgan had more turnovers (seven) than points in the initial eight minutes.

The offense picked up in the second period for both teams behind the shooting of Morgan's Bente Young and Eastside's Eric Shy.

Young sank three field goals while Shy added a pair of 3-pointers to give Eastside a 20-19 edge entering halftime.

Shy finished with 13 points and four boards.

The Eagles tacked on 20 more in the third - half coming from Neal Latimore, who finished with a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds.

Trailing 42-37 early in the fourth quarter, Morgan's Dee Elder ripped off nine straight points to close the deficit to 47-46 with 2:18 remaining.

Cameron Robinson responded with a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a 3-point lead. However, with 1:29 on the clock Morgan's Brian Green sank two of his own to make it 49-48.

With just 6.4 ticks left, a miss by Dell Stokes evened Eastside's regular season record against Morgan.

Robinson finished with eight points. Freshman Jhastin Thomas grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

Green ended with a team-high 12 points and nine boards. Young added 11 and seven, while Elder also finished with 11 points.

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.