WALNUT GROVE -- Fouls, unforced turnovers and the lack of rebounding almost allowed Walnut Grove to come back on Eastside before the Eagles regrouped to remain unbeaten in Region 8-AAAA with a 73-60 win Tuesday.
"Any time you can get a win on the road in the region, that's good," Eastside head coach Greg Freeman said. "We'll take it and get ready to play Chestatee at home on Friday."
It didn't matter in the first half that turnovers and fouls kept points off the board for the Eagles (10-3, 3-0) as the defense shut down Walnut Grove's offense. Eastside's defense forced the Warriors to use three timeouts in the first half while causing frustration that resulted in two technical fouls.
However, things started turning around in the second half for the Warriors. Trailing 43-28 to start the second half, Walnut Grove cut the lead to 53-46 before Anthony Henderson sank one of his four 3-pointers at the buzzer to give Eagles a 10-point advantage.
"They were calling touch fouls in the second half," Freeman said. "We need to learn how to adjust to that kind of stuff. I'm still trying to get my second unit to come out with more energy. If nothing else, just play hard defense."
Leading 63-57 with less than three minutes left in the game, Eastside was content to pass and dribble, waiting for an open shot or for Walnut Grove to come out of its zone defense.
Eastside's normal scoring threat, Quindarrius Russell, was held to 17 points, giving Henderson the opportunity to step up and score 29 points. Even though Treyvon Francis was held to 10 points, his ability to shut down the defense and put the ball in the hands of the right player made him a force to contend with.
"When he's on, there aren't too many in Georgia that can play with him," Freeman said of Francis. "He has to believe more in his ability to play on both ends of the floor."