WALNUT GROVE —All three Newton teams found it difficult to come up with a win as both Alcovy squads and the Eastside boys found themselves on the wrong side of the score at the Walnut Grove Thanksgiving Shootout on Tuesday.
The Eastside boys could not overcome the more than 25 fouls called against them against Grayson in their 67-57 loss.
The Alcovy girls came close to winning their first game under head coach David Baker but feel short losing to South Effingham 54-51 while the Alcovy boys were no match for South Atlanta losing by more than 40 points in the 93-51 contest.
South Effingham 54, Alcovy 51
Even though the Lady Tigers failed to get a win, they were able to do something they have not done all season — finish the quarter with a lead.
“I could tell their attitude when the buzzer went off was good,” Baker said. “There was a different look in their eye. They were more confident because they had more games under their belt. The more they can play with each other the better we’ll all be able to see we’re getting better.”
Alcovy trailed the Lady Mustangs 11-8 to end the first quarter with South Effingham extending their lead 26-20 at the half before being outscored 18-11 to end the third frame.
However, the Alcovy girls could not overcome the mistakes they made turning the ball over allowing South Effingham to retake the lead. Even after losing the lead at 50-45, the Lady Tigers were able to close the gap to 50-49 with 1:45 left to play.
“Even the greatest teams, its going to be hard to come back from 20 turnovers,” Baker said. But that’s definitely something we can build on. I was telling the coaches from when we started Thursday to (Tuesday) we’ve played better.”
The Lady Tigers had three players in double digits with Tierra Hodges pacing the team with 18 points followed by Waneisha Morris with 11 and Kiara Bagby with 10.
“They’re starting to trust each other and they’re being more patient. That’s going to be the key,” Baker said. “Some calls didn’t go our way but they played through it. We’re going to drill that in practice. Practice is going to make a difference and we’ll be ready to play in our region game (at Druid Hills) on Tuesday.”
Grayson 67, Eastside 57
From the beginning it was easy to see it was going to be a battle between David and Goliath as Class AAAA Eastside went up against Class AAAAAA Grayson.
Even though Eastside was smaller, they did not back down from attacking the Golden Rams at every possession. However, missed shots and turnovers allowed Grayson to maintain a small 36-22 lead to end the first half.
“The effort was there, we just have to finish. But that’s why you play teams like this early,” Eastside head coach Greg Freeman said. “It says a lot about our program playing (upper classes) like we did.”
The Eagles seemed to get it all together in the third quarter as they came back from a 14-point deficit to take 42-41 lead with six seconds left in the third frame.
“We decided to defend and play pressure defense like we should have done from the start,” Freeman said.
But Grayson was able to go on a 12-2 run to make it 55-44 at the midway point of the fourth quarter. Fouls hurt the Eagles as 11 of Grayson’s 24 fourth-quarter points came from the foul line as they took 28 shots.
Treyvon Francis led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points followed by Daniel Oduah who had 11 points.
“We expended a lot of energy to get back in the game,” Freeman said. “We kind of flat lined there in the fourth quarter.”
Eastside boys will have their home opener at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against Henry County.