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Eastside finishes strong to win season opener

COVINGTON -- Eastside's boys basketball team was shocked by the physical play of Greene County before regrouping in the second half to win the season opener 61-48 on Tuesday.

"That's why I wanted to play them, because I knew exactly what it was going to be," Eastside head coach Gregory Freeman said. "We played into what their zone was designed to do. Our perimeter guys need to recognize that they want us to shoot from the outside because they're smaller. When you're playing against a smaller team, you have to pound the ball inside."

Eastside (1-0) trailed 27-24 at halftime not only because it did not force the ball to the basket, but also because its free throw shooting was less than 50 percent at a 6-for-13 pace.

"The problem was free throw shooting and not finishing shots around the basket. It comes from not being fundamentally sound," Freeman said.

The Eagles were able to make adjustments in the second half as Treyvon Francis led the team while finding Quindarrius Russell. Russell led the team in scoring with 31 points while Francis had 14 points. Eastside also improved from the free throw line, going 18-for-27 -- 67 percent -- including making 10 of 14 in the fourth period.

"I was very pleased with Treyvon Francis, especially down the stretch," Freeman said. "He's the leader and he's just a junior. I can look at him and see the progression from last year. In basketball you have to have a strong point guard. He took control of the game in the fourth quarter. He knew when to get the ball to Quindarrius and he's a great defender.

"I think that Quindarrious Russell is the best player in Newton County this year. I truly believe he can't be stopped from getting his points."

While Francis and Russell impressed Freeman, some of the other players, including Jomandi Smith, Anthony Henderson and Jamal Hardge who just finished playing football, still have to get into basketball shape.

"Good teams win when they don't play their best," Freeman said.