Eagles back atop Mid-State standings with two games left

Eastern Alamance sophomore Hali Watkins (left) scored 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists as the Eagles crushed Morehead Saturday night, 66-32, in Eden. With the two road conference triumphs last week at Rockingham and Morehead, Eastern improved to 17-4 and 10-2 in Mid-State Conference play heading into the critical final week of regular season play. The Eagles travel to McMichael Friday night for the regular season finale after hosting Western Alamance Tuesday night on Senior Night in Mebane. 

Eastern Alamance’s women’s basketball team overcame its first loss of the calendar year at home to Northern Guilford January 31 in the best possible way - by dominating its next two opponents. 

Along the way, the Eagles got some help from one of their conference rivals, and once again find themselves out in front of the Mid-State Conference race heading into the final week of the regular season. 

The unfortunate victims of Eastern’s two most recent blowout victories were hosts Rockingham and Morehead, who had nothing for the speed, defense, and athleticism of the Eagles.  

Traveling to McLeansville the evening of Tuesday, February 4 to face Rockingham, the visitors from Mebane cruised to a 50-20 triumph. Three nights later, EAHS traveled to Eden and walloped the Panthers, 66-32. The pair of lopsided road triumphs improved Eastern’s overall record to 17-4, and its conference mark to 10-2. 

Rockingham managed to slow down the fast-paced Eagles a little bit in the early going, as the two teams played to a 12-9 halftime score, with EAHS on top. But the floodgates opened for Tim Krotish’s squad in the second half, as the Eagles turned up the defensive intensity and forced numerous Rockingham turnovers, then getting out in transition for easy points. 

Laila Anderson once again led the way offensively for the Eagles with 20 points. Amiyah Evans and Ginia Lawson had strong nights on the glass, picking up eight rebounds apiece, while also being active on the defensive end of the court with four steals each. Evans and Lawson’s steals led to numerous fast break baskets by Anderson and others in the second half. EAHS improved to 16-4 and 9-2 in Mid-State Conference play with the blowout victory over Rockingham. 

Four nights later, Eastern once again turned on the jets and cruised past Morehead, 66-32. The contest was originally supposed to be played on Friday night, but wound up being postponed a day following ABSS’s decision to cancel school and school-related activities on February 7.  

It was a surprisingly strong fight early on, as Morehead played tough and held within Eastern, 14-10, heading into the second quarter. The Eagles got a little separation - outscoring the Panthers 17-7 in the second quarter for a 31-17 halftime lead - and then sprinted past the home team in the third quarter. 

While the EAHS defense held Morehead to just three third quarter points, the Eagles broke away with a flurry of well-timed passes and transition layups. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Eagles held a commanding 50-20 lead - the same final score as the Tuesday game at Rockingham. 

Eastern again outscored Morehead in the fourth quarter on the way to their 34-point victory, which gives the Eagles ten regular season triumphs in Mid-State Conference play with two regular season contests left. Hali Watkins recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, as well as six assists, while Laila Anderson was also in double figures in scoring with 12 points against the Panthers. 

Just as importantly as Eastern’s win over Morehead was Northern Guilford’s stunning 58-50 loss at Person Friday night in Roxboro. Despite just a 12-7 overall record, the Rockets have beaten both Northern Guilford and Eastern Alamance in their home gymnasium this winter. 

With the loss to Person, Northern Guilford slipped back to 9-2, in a second place tie with Western Alamance. Both the Nighthawks and the Warriors found themselves one-half game behind Eastern with three games to play. EAHS sits at 10-2. Although the Eagles had re-scheduled a non-conference game to be played at Cummings the evening of Monday, February 10, the Cavaliers cancelled their season, eliminating the game from Eastern’s slate. 

EAHS has just two regular season conference games left - a home encounter Tuesday night with Western Alamance, and Friday night’s regular season finale at McMichael. If the Eagles win both games, the worst they can finish in the standings is in a first place tie with Northern Guilford. 

Northern Gulford will host Western Alamance on Friday night in Greensboro in a game that will have a direct bearing on the Mid-State Conference’s final standings. Should the Eagles defeat the Warriors, and then Western Alamance beats Northern Guilford, the Eagles can win the Mid-State title outright. However, the Eagles could still finish in third place if they lose to Western Alamance and slip up against McMichael. There’s also the remaining possibility of a tie in the standings.

EAHS split its two matchups with Northern Guilford, and would hold the vital tiebreaker against Western Alamance if they can defeat the Warriors on Senior Night inside Tal Jobe Gymnasium. Visit MebaneEnterprise.com for regular updates on EAHS women’s basketball this week.