It wasn’t pretty much of the time. But Eastern Alamance’s women’s basketball team did what it had to do Tuesday night to pick up a 39-33 victory at home over Person in Mid-State Conference play. The win avenged a heartbreaking Eagles loss to the Rockets in Roxboro in December, and kept pace with Northern Guilford as EAHS remained atop the league standings.
It wasn’t the type of game EAHS prefers. Which is to say, the game was slow, plodding, and at a slow tempo. Person successfully kept the pace down over the opening two quarters, which was a huge reason why the Rockets led 20-18 at halftime. The Rockets led 8-3 early on, and 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Eagles pulled closer over the second quarter, but were unable to take the lead prior to halftime.
As the second half got going, Kyra Jones took advantage of a nice pass inside, tying the game at 30-30 a minute and a half into the third quarter. A drive and score by Ginia Lawson again tied the game at 22-22 seconds later, and then the Eagles got a pair of baskets for a 26-22 lead, forcing a Person timeout.
After EAHS upped its lead to 28-22, Person reeled off five straight points to pull within 28-27. A steal by Lawson and pass ahead to Amiyah Evans gave EAHS a three-point advantage, 30-27, winding into the final 90 seconds of the third quarter. That score remained heading into the final period.
The Rockets and Eagles engaged in a sloppy fourth quarter, filled with a series of turnovers, as well as multiple jump balls forced by both teams. The Rockets tied the game 30-30 on a 3-point play, but a hard drive to the basket and score by Eastern’s Jordan Adams gave the Eagles a 32-31 lead with 5:10 to go.
Lawson was the next to score for EAHS, giving the Eagles a 33-32 advantage as the teams spent some time midway through the final period trading the lead back and forth. A fine pass from Evans to Hali Watkins at the 4:30 mark led to another inside score, and a 35-32 EAHS advantage.
With the score 36-33 in favor of the Eagles in the final two minutes, they began milking the clock. Evans was finally fouled with only 51.2 seconds on the clock, but was unable to put the game away for the Eagles at the line. The Rockets got the defensive rebound, and headed downcourt.
Person got the shot it wanted inside the lane, but the shot didn’t go. EA got huge defensive rebound and Laila Anderson made a pair of critical free throws with only 38.4 seconds to go, giving Eastern a 38-33 lead. Jones put two final nails in Person’s coffin with a final free throw, which made the final score 39-33, and a steal on the defensive end of the court in the last 30 seconds.
With the win over the Rockets, EAHS improved to 14-3 overall, and 8-1 in Mid-State Conference play. The Eagles also remained undefeated in the month of January, with nine consecutive triumphs. Hali Watkins led the way for EAHS with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the victory, while Evans added seven points, seven rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Point guard Laila Anderson chipped in six points, three rebounds, and an assist, while Lawson added six points and eight rebounds.
The Eagles increased their January winning streak to ten games on Wednesday night, as EAHS traveled to Burlington and knocked off Williams in non-conference play, 46-30.
Eastern smoothly took control against the Bulldogs early on, building an early 11-8 edge into a 20-13 halftime advantage. Eastern picked up the intensity in the third quarter, pushing its lead into double digits, and then held off a Williams charge in the fourth quarter to improve to 15-3 overall.
Anderson led the way against the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Watkins added 13 points and six rebounds. Lawson had another big game on the glass for EAHS, contributing 13 rebounds to go along with four points.
The victories over Person and Williams were a prelude to Friday night’s huge clash with Northern Guilford, the current co-leaders of the Mid-State Conference along with EAHS. Northern, who got off to a 14-4 start this season, suffered a 44-39 home loss to the Eagles back on January 3. In that particular outing, EAHS used a dominant third quarter rally to pull away from the Nighthawks and hand them the only loss of their first nine league contests this winter.
Eastern not only seeks revenge in Friday night’s encounter with Northern Guilford, but also to take over first place outright in the Mid-State Conference standings.