After going 0-3 in Eastern Alamance High’s host Holiday Hoopla tournament in the days leading up to the New Year, the Eagles men’s basketball team returned to the court in the final days of Christmas break for a pair of road games against Southern Alamance and Northern Guilford.
For the Eagles, the defending champions of the Mid-State Conference who have fallen on hard times early on this winter, getting a win looms large after getting off to a highly disappointing 0-5 start.
EAHS has been in almost every game it has played early on, but the Eagles haven’t been taking control and getting the same bounces and breaks that defined last year’s undefeated regular season and run to the NCHSAA 3A East Regional finals.
On the evening of Thursday, January 2, the Eagles traveled to Swepsonville to take on local rival Southern Alamance in a makeup of a game that was supposed to be played in early December, while the EAHS football team was still in the state playoffs.
Eastern got off to a solid start against the Patriots, building an early 16-12 lead. But Southern would fight back, taking a 29-27 lead heading into halftime. EAHS came out with a purpose in the third quarter, surging offensively with 23 points. The Eagles managed to reclaim the lead, 50-48, heading into the fourth quarter. But the Eastern defense couldn’t slow down the Patriots, who scored 46 second half points and 25 points in the fourth quarter alone on the way to a 73-66 victory over the still-winless Eagles.
The following night - Friday, January 3 - the Eagles returned to Mid-State Conference play with a road game at Northern Guilford. EAHS suffered setbacks to Northeast Guilford and Person by a combined nine points to open league play this season, but unfortunately things wouldn’t be so close for the Eagles against the Nighthawks.
The Eagles were offensively challenged in the first half against NGHS, scoring just 20 points. Trailing 27-20 at halftime, Eastern continued its offensive funk, scoring only 17 second half points. Unable to secure any kind of consistent offensive rhythm, the Eagles continued steadily falling farther and farther behind in the second half.
A 42-30 lead for the Nighthawks heading into the fourth quarter wound up into a 54-37 victory for the home team, as Eastern’s offensive struggles played out for the entire 32 minutes. With only seven points over the final eight minutes, EAHS was simply unable to mount any kind of realistic comeback rally against the Nighthawks.
Although Northern Guilford won just four of its first ten games this season, the Nighthawks are off to a perfect 3-0 record in Mid-State Conference play following the win over EAHS. Meanwhile, Eastern has now fallen to 0-7 overall, and 0-3 in conference play.
The Eagles look to right the ship and finally get in the win column the evening of Tuesday, January 7 at home inside Tal Jobe Gymnasium against league rival Rockingham.