EAHS knocks off Cummings, Graham in women's hoops

After scoring 13 points Tuesday night in Eastern Alamance's season-opening blowout win over Cummings, Eagles sophomore guard Laila Anderson tallied 20 points on Thursday night, as the Eagles defeated Graham. EAHS's pair of wins over the Cavaliers and Red Devils gives the young Eagles a 2-0 start heading into next week's non-conference matchup against Southern Alamance.

Eastern Alamance’s women’s basketball team opened its 2019-20 schedule Tuesday night with a home game in Tal Jobe Gymnasium against local foe Cummings. The Eagles dominated the Cavaliers in a pair of games last year, including a 75-5 game last December. This time around Eastern once again built a huge early lead and rolled to a lopsided 71-16 victory, which improved EAHS to 1-0 on the new season. 

Eastern Alamance scored the game’s first 22 points before Cummings finally scored on a banked-in 3-point shot around the 1:15 mark of the opening quarter. After one period of play, EAHS was in complete control, leading 26-3 over the Cavaliers. 

EAHS not only got its transition game into high gear and scored numerous transition points, but the Eagles also moved the ball well in the halfcourt and connected on several open looks around the perimeter in the early part of the game. 

The Eagles were active defensively early in the second quarter, as sophomore guard Laila Anderson converted three straight layups to give EAHS a 34-3 lead less than two minutes into the period. Following a basket by fellow sophomore Kyra Jones, Anderson made a nifty left-handed layup while getting fouled. Although she missed the free throw, Anderson’s basket made the count 38-3 in favor of Eastern. 

A free throw around the 2:50 mark of the second quarter kept Cummings from getting shut out in the period, but EAHS continued to pile up the points, surpassing the 50 mark for the first half on a jumper by sophomore Jenna Merchel. Merchel then buried a 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer, which gave EAHS a commanding 54-4 lead at the intermission. 

The Eagles came out on target from long range to start the second half, as Jones and Amiyah Evans buried 3-pointers to extend the lead even more. Additional layups by Jones and Anderson made the score 65-6 before Cummings managed another field goal. Anderson did an excellent job during this stretch of setting up multiple teammates for easy baskets. 

Three minutes into the third quarter, Eastern made a mass substitution, allowing all its players to get playing time in the blowout affair. With a running clock in effect, the Eagles built their lead to 60 points, 68-8, on another outside jumper by Merchel. Cummings made a free throw, but Karsyn Johnson scored in the final ten seconds of the period to give the Eagles a 69-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

The clock wound down quickly in the final period, but Eastern had one more solid offensive play up its sleeve, as Merchel passed ahead to Johnson, who spun around and delivered an excellent pass under the basket to Annabella Mize for a basket and a 71-11 lead. Cummings scored the game’s final five points. 

Jones led the way for EAHS with 14 points, with Anderson and Evans were also in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively. The Eagles as a team were a solid 5-of-12 from beyond the 3-point line, and put up some solid defensive numbers, including 19 team steals. The Eagles picked up 34 team rebounds and converted 17 assists. 

Eastern returned to action Thursday night with another home game in Mebane against Graham. Once again the Eagles got off to a fast start, building a 15-point halftime lead on the way to a 57-39 triumph. 

EAHS broke out to a 14-4 lead in the opening eight minutes, and continued adding to the margin leading up to halftime, taking a 26-11 advantage into halftime. Eastern put the Red Devils away in the third quarter, scoring 19 additional points to take a commanding 45-22 cushion into the final period of play. 

Eastern got 20 points from Anderson in the win over Graham, while Evans added 14 points. Again the Eagles were active defensively, forcing 17 Red Devil steals, while controlling the glass to the tune of 35 team rebounds. 

The Eagles are a young team this season, with only one senior - Makenzy Tucker. The squad features three juniors - Makayla VanDusen, Ginia Lawson, and Jordan Adams - along with five sophomores - Anderson, Jones, Merchel, Evans, and Hali Watkins. Three ninth graders - Mize, Tashawna Garner, and Karsyn Johnson - have also made their way up to the varsity team. 

EAHS, 2-0 on the young season, returns to action next Wednesday evening (December 11), once again staying at home to face another local non-conference foe in Southern Alamance. 

Due to Eastern High’s run in the NCHSAA 3A state football playoffs, the Eagles’ men’s basketball team has not yet started its 2019-20 schedule. Multiple games against the likes of Cummings, Graham, and Southern Alamance have been re-scheduled for January.