COVINGTON — The Eastside boys basketball team will not any friends on the court as they hope to beat everyone they face this season which begins on Monday at 3 p.m. against Mundy’s Mill in the Walnut Grove Shootout.
“We look at everybody the same, if we play you, we don’t like you. That’s it. We’re rivals with everybody. That’s what I’ve instilled in them. You don’t have any friends on the court. After the game, if you want to shake their hands and say great job we’ll do that. But we practice too hard everyday not to compete in every game,” third-year Eastside boys head coach Greg Freeman said. “That’s the one thing I’m most proud of with these kids. They’ve really bought into the high energy, high intensity style I’ve tried to give them. The results is that we’re a pretty good program.”
The Eagles finished last season with a 16-10 record as Region 8-AAAA runner-up losing in the championship game to Johnson, Gainesville and lost their first round of the Class AAAA playoffs 72-59 to Alexander.
They hope to put that all behind them and win the region championship while making their mark in the playoffs.
“I wouldn’t say they were embarrassed, but they want to make amends for how the season ended. We lost the region championship by one point (51-50) then in the playoff game we laid an egg. They want to get back out there and finish it the right way this year. You can see it in practice,” Freeman said.
“We’ve been working hard, extremely hard. Our practices are very businesslike, the kids are holding each other accountable which is one thing I tried to put in place when I got here. That’s what they do everyday. It’s kind of rubbing off on the younger kids.”
The Eagles are going to have two freshman on the team along with returners including Treyvon Francis, Anthony Henderson, Jamal Hardge and Larry Saxton.
“Isaiah Miller and Joshua Cammons are two ninth graders and that’s a surprise,” Freeman said. “Isaiah is the younger brother of Ben Miller who played for me in my first year. He has the same type quickness but he’s a little better shooter. Josh is a very athletic kid. He’s not afraid to mix it up.”
As a junior, Francis was the heart of the team meaning that as he went so did the Eagles. While he will still more than likely be the offensive leader, Freeman also has confidence that all the other ball handlers.
“We run a system where our guys are going to get touches,” Freeman said. ” It’s up to them to them the shots once they get it.
“There will be people knocking at the door looking at this guy before the season is over. We still have Anthony Henderson but Francis is a better offensive player this year. Coach Marquis Gilstrap has worked with him a lot on his offensive game. Right now he’s knocking down shots and if does that it’s going to be really hard to stop him.”