Eastern Alamance swept a pair of key Mid-State Conference matchups on Tuesday night, as the Eagles women’s squad picked up their third straight triumph, while the EAHS men won its second straight. The EAHS women improved to 3-0 with a 54-39 win over the Rockets, while the Eagle men improved to 2-1 with a narrow 60-58 victory.
In the women’s contest, the Eagles once again used their defense and speed to take control on their way to their third straight double-digit victory. With Hali Watkins leading the way, contributing a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, the Eagles cruised to the 54-39 win, improving to 3-0.
In the subsequent men’s game, the Eagles fell behind early, trailing 15-11 at the end of the first quarter, and 32-26 heading into halftime. By the early third quarter, the Eagles found themselves behind by 10 points, struggling to stay afloat following a 3-pointer by Person sophomore Tymaureon Outlaw.
The lead would eventually reach 11 points at 41-30. But then Eastern came alive.
Following a bucket by Hunter Douglas, Caleb Gerlach scored back-to-back baskets, reducing the Person advantage to 41-36. A subsequent score by CeDarion Williams gave Eastern an 8-0 run, and forced a Person timeout. Then a 3-pointer by Josh Randolph for the Eagles tied the score at 41-41.
The Eagles continued to pour it on, with consecutive baskets by Darius Kane and Williams pushing the EAHS run to 15-0, and making the score 45-41 in favor of the home team. Person finally stopped the bleeding with a free throw, but another 3-pointer by Randolph gave Eastern a 48-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
A pair of free throws by Gerlach in the opening minutes of the final period gave Eastern its biggest lead at 50-42, but Person closed the gap, leading to a climatic final minutes.
A flurry of five unanswered points by the Rockets cut the EAHS advantage to 50-47 before Kane found the net to get the Eagles back up to a five-point lead at 52-47. A subsequent bucket by Douglas stretched the EAHS lead back out to seven, but Person again reeled off five unanswered points, setting the stage for a dramatic conclusion.
Leading just 54-52, the Eagles got another key basket from Gerlach, who finished the night with 13 points. A pair of Person free throws made the count 56-52, leading up to a free throw by Williams for the Eagles. But then Tae Bailey, who led the way for Person with 19 points, connected on a pair of free throws and a basket to make it a one-point game at 57-56.
In the waning moments, following a technical foul on Person’s Jasiel Bumphus, EAHS senior Evan Mann made a crucial set of three free throws, giving EAHS a 60-56 lead winding down into the final minute of play. Following a timeout by the Eagles, Person’s Outlaw scored to make it a two-point game. But it proved to be the game’s final score, as the Eagles held on and ran out the clock for a 60-58 triumph to improve to 2-1. Eastern allowed Person just 26 points over the final 16 minutes of the contest.
Randolph led the way for the Eagles offensively with 14 points - his crucial third quarter 3-pointers helping make the difference. Caleb Gerlach added 13 points, while Darius Kane was in double figures for the third straight outing with 10 points. Bailey led all scorers with 19 points for Person, while Outlaw chipped in 14 points and Bumphus 10 points.
After three straight home contests to open the 2021 season, the Eagles take to the road for the first time this winter on Friday night, as they’ll travel to Northern Guilford. Then the Eagles will return home again next week to face Rockingham inside Tal Jobe Gymnasium on the evening of Tuesday, January 19.