Eastside boys advance to region championhsip, girls in consolations

GAINESVILLE -- The Eastside boys are one step away from claiming a region champion while the Lady Eagles will have to play for third place after losing the semifinal game on Thursday.

The Eagles beat Madison County 62-43 and will face the winner of the Johnson/Stephens County game today at 8:30 p.m. for the Region 8-AAAA championship. The Lady Eagles on the other hand had the air taken out of them late in the game as they lost to No. 1 seed Chestatee 54-40.

In the boys game, the Eagles went out and controlled the tempo of the game allowing them to take a 24-15 halftime lead.

"We controlled the game throughout," Eastside head coach Gregory Freeman said. "When we really want to we can do it out of half -court defense."

While Madison County seemed to have the answer to Eastside's defense scoring 16 points in the third, they were still unable to match Eastside's offense. The Eagles extended their lead to 16 points scoring 23 points in the third frame.

Pacing the Eagles on the floor was Quindarrious Russell who had 17 points while Treyvon Francis was close behind with a double-double. Francis scored 14 points, and while passing the ball to the open player got 11 assists.

Even though the Eagled beat Stephens County 71-58 while losing to Johnson, Gainesville 90-70 in regular season play, Freeman said that it doesn't matter who he plays in the championship game.

"I have extreme confidence in my players," he said. "There are 13 guys on the team and all 13 have to be ready."

After falling back by almost double digits at halftime, the Lady Eagles came back to make it a 33-31 game late in the fourth quarter. However, with momentum on their side, the Eastside team was hit with a technical foul.

"They got the two shots and the ball back and that just deflated everything," Eastside head coach Matthew Jackson said. "I was really proud of how everyone played."

The Lady Eagles went from trailing by two points to trailing by six and could not get back into the game.

Eastside's Jazzmine Cook led all scorers with 16 points with the next highest scorer for the Lady Eagles, Alexis Stokes, scoring six.

The Lady Eagles will play Stephens County, who lost to Madison County 51-37, in the consolation finals at 4 p.m. today. Eastside lost its regular season matchup 64-49 but that does not worry Jackson.

"The coach came over to me (Thursday night) and said that we didn't look the same as when we played," Jackson said. "It all depends on how we play. I do believe we can beat them. It all depends on how we come out and play."