Lady Eagles drop first region game to Stephens County

COVINGTON -- The Eastside girls basketball team was unable to pull a win out of nothing as they fell too far behind too fast, losing to Stephens County 64-49 and picking up its first Region 8-AAAA defeat Tuesday.

"(The loss) was big because of was the way we played," Eastside coach Matthew Jackson said. "Any time you only play a region team once, a loss is huge."

Stephens County (8-13, 5-0) was not bigger than the Lady Eagles (10-9, 4-1), nor was it faster than the host team. But the Lady Indians played like they were both as they outrebounded and beat the Eastside team to the ball, forcing turnovers just about every turn.

"We did not play well at all. There was a lack of energy and we didn't communicate the way we normally do. It was one of those aberrations," Jackson said. "We normally don't have everyone break down in the same game."

Even after having a chance to come up with a new plan at halftime, the Lady Eagles continued to play the same unfocused style of basketball they did in the first half. The Eastside girls continued to turn the ball over on unforced errors while allowing Stephens County to get uncontested rebounds.

The Lady Eagles started the fourth quarter down by 18 points, 52-34, but got it down to 54-44 at the midway point. However, Stephens County was able to bounce back, extending the lead back to 60-44 two minutes later.

Even though the Lady Eagles did not play to their ability, Jackson is not worried.

"They normally play harder," Jackson said. "It was one of those games where you say tomorrow is a brand new day."

Pacing the Lady Eagles was Jazzmine Cook with 14 points followed by Jymara Smith with 12 and Zaria Barton with eight.

"Now the pressure is on us to show up for the rest of our region games," Jackson said. "We definitely have to take care of business."

The Lady Eagles will be back in action in region play Friday when they travel to take on Johnson in Gainesville.