COVINGTON -- Eastside's boys basketball team survived a scare by Henry County before regrouping in the final two minutes for the 70-62 win on Tuesday.
The Eagles (9-11 overall, 7-4 in Region 4-AAA) had a 10-point, 51-41, lead after scoring six straight points against Henry County (12-7, 7-3) early in the final period. But the Warhawks started to pressure Eastside's inbound passes and down court closing the gap to 55-53 at the midway point.
After another Eastside turnover allowed Henry County to take a 59-58 lead with just under two minutes left in the game, the Eagles came back making shots and getting out of traps they were unable to earlier in the period.
"We just didn't move and kept throwing the ball to the same spot and they kept trapping in the same spot. They trap well," said Eastside head coach Gregory Freeman. "Their forte is to play physical on defense. What they did was box us into a corner and we kept going to the same spot. That's what we like to do when we pressure."
Making the game closer than it should have been was Eastside's 54 percent free-throw shooting. Until the final quarter where they were 7-of-9, the Eagles were a poor 8-of-20 for 40 percent shooting from the line.
"That's the same song, different game. Nobody is guarding you on the free throw line. That's the easiest shot in basketball; should be anyway. We're not where I want us to be. We know that as a staff and as a team. It's all a mental thing," said Freeman.
Even though he was in foul trouble, Quindarrious Russell led the Eagles with 12 points.
"It wasn't one of his better games," said Freeman of Russell. "But it's like I told these guys, this game is not about them. It's about us. That's something they still have a hard time understanding. If you're not contributing at that moment but someone else is, we still win. That's what I want them to understand. They have to let go of that recreational mentality to where 'I have to be the one.' It's not 'I,' it's 'we.'"
Also hitting double-digit scoring were Ben Miller and Anthony Henderson with 10 points each followed by Elijah Ward scoring nine.
"Winning for these guys is something that is refreshing and new. They're beating teams they haven't beat since they've been in the region," said Freeman. "It's a signature win for us."