COVINGTON -- To say that Eastside's basketball team was domineering would be an understatement as both squads forced a mercy-rule fourth quarter against Locust Grove on Friday.
The Lady Eagles (2-2 overall, 2-0 Region 4-AAA) easily handled Locust Grove (0-5, 0-2) 55-21 while the Eastside boys (1-3, 1-1) finally got their first win under first-year head coach Gregory Freeman with a 40-point, 66-26, win over the Wildcats (1-4, 0-2).
Eastside 66, Locust Grove 26
The Eagle' defense did everything right as Locust Grove was two minutes into the second quarter hitting their first field goal. Even though they were winning, they were not doing everything they way Freeman wanted. Rather than leading 13-1 after the first period, the Eagles could have led 21-1 if not for the four dunks that were missed.
"That was a style thing, just give me the bucket. They might have had an adrenaline rush. From what I understand this is like their biggest crowd in four years in this gym. I'm looking around thinking it's a Tuesday," Freeman said. "It's like I told them in the locker room, we have to play in the system. If we play in the system we can play with anybody. We showed glimpses of that than they reverted to whatever they did before. It has to be a consistent thing for us to be able to play in this region and I think we can."
The Eastside boys came out in the second half playing more with the guidelines set by Freeman even though a few players would try to make Michael Jordan-stayle layups and playing like they were in the school yard.
A few of the players which seemed to stick to the game plan were senior Michael Chapman who hit three 3-pointers for his nine points with Robert Rankins, also a senior, scoring eight points.
"When you play a lot of guys you get a guy like Robert Rankin that never played before. He was cut every year he tried out. Or you get a Michael Chapman, when they find that comfort zone it makes a big difference," Freeman said. "I liked the fact that he (Chapman) was real serious about what he had to do. It showed when he came out and played."
Pacing the Eagles with 13 points was Ben Miller who played two and a half quarters.
Even though the wildcats are not a strong team, Freeman feels that the win is still good and they can use the experience to continue to build.
"Winning is habitual. We can look at the tape and see the good things ion order to build on the positive stuff. I'm happy for them because collectively, they've never beaten anybody like that," Freeman said.
Eastside 55, Locust Grove 21
The Lady Eagles were shooting well from the field and their defense all over the Locust Grove ball handlers forcing 17 turnovers in the second half alone.
Being short we have to be really, really aggressive," Eastside girls head coach Matthew Jackson said. "I was happy, we're starting to execute better. They're starting to mature some. For the most part we have a young team, besides Alexia (Somerset). They're starting to catch up and play the part."
Leading 31-10 at the half with nine players contributing to the score, Eastside did not let up in the second half as they continued to pressure and build on their lead.
Eastside had a 38-10 midway through the third frame when Jackson took three starters off the floor. With two minutes left in the third there was nothing but bench players on the floor. However, it did not matter as the Lady Eagles continued to maintain their dominance.
Leading the Lady Eagles on the scoreboard was Somerset with 13 points followed by Journee Stoves with 8 points.
"She make everybody better and that's what I ask her to do," Jackson said of Somerset.
The only aspect of the game where the Lady Eagles failed to excel was free-throw shooting as they missed all five of their attempts in the first half.
"We missed like 10 free throws. That's our Achilles heal, we have to out the ball in the basket. But (missing) 10 is better than where we started. So only missing 10 is a plus," Jackson said. "Last game (Henry County) we missed like 20."