COVINGTON -- Five players in double-figure scoring kept Stephens County from knowing who to double team as the Eastside boys easily defeated the Indians 71-58 in Tuesday's Region 8-AAAA game.
The win puts the Eagles (12-4, 5-0) in control of their playoff destiny with three region games left, including a road game against fellow 8-AAAA undefeated Johnson (16-4, 4-0) on Friday.
"If we win out, we'll be the No. 1 seed in our region," Eastside head coach Greg Freeman said. "I always feel like we're always playing for respect. I feel like people are looking for reasons not to give us our just dues."
Against Stephens County (12-9, 1-3), the Eagles came out energized, putting pressure on the Indians' offense. Not only were the Eagles forcing turnovers, they were taking advantage of the Stephens County mistakes, jumping out to a 42-25 halftime lead.
Helping set the tone for Eastside's first-half play was Anthony Henderson, who led the team in scoring with 18 points including 14 in the first qu,arter. Twelve of his first-quarter points came from beyond the arc.
The Eagles must have left their first-half intensity in the locker room, looking too relaxed in the second half. Even though the Indians were a step ahead, Eastside was never in any real danger of allowing Stephens County to take the lead.
"I wish we could've played a straight 32 minutes because we have to find a way to reconstitute that pressure in the second half," Freeman said. "You can't do that against good teams if we want to advance in the state playoffs.
"What took us out of that rhythm is that we didn't move. If we move like we're supposed to, we force some things. If the guys move we can get the same type of shot as we did when they were in man (coverage) against the zone."
Also scoring in double digits were Treyvon Francis and Justin Adams with 13 points apiece and Quindarrius Russell and Jamal Hardge with 11 each.
"As long as we play our system, it could be someone different every night," Freeman said. "Lately it's been Anthony because we've been finding him open. For most of the year Quindarrius has been carrying us and people are trying to take him away. It's important that Anthony take these opportunities because of what Russell has done this year. It's good to see these guys grow up."