The East Jackson girls’ basketball team is on a roll as of late. The Eagles’ most recent victim was Prince Avenue on Monday (Nov. 22).

East Jackson blew out the Wolverines 68-51 with three players in double figures. Haven Rollins led the Eagles with 21 points and Antonia Pittman scored 20, while Destiny Rakestraw added 19. The trio combined to score 60 points.

“We had a great start to the game tonight,” said head coach Matt Allen. “We came out really aggressive. We moved the ball on offense really well. We had some great looks, great passes, just good ball movement. We knocked down a lot of shots.

“We had a 25-point first quarter that really set the tone for the rest of the night… Most of those baskets were off really good passes. Most of the three’s we hit were off good ball movement, reversing the ball, and setting up shooters.”

East Jackson (2-1, 0-0 Region 8-AAA) led 25-12 after the first quarter and did not look back. The Eagles led Prince Avenue (2-1, 0-0 Region 8-A Private) 43-27 at halftime and ultimately won 68-51. Allen also had praise for his team’s effort on defense to maintain a double-digit cushion throughout the night.

“We were able to stay in man defense the entire game,” he said. “Prince Avenue has a couple of dynamic players that posed some difficulty for us because of their size and length. But we were able to stay in front of them for the most part.

“We didn’t go for many gambles. We just stayed between them and the goal. I felt we held our own rebounding the ball as well against a much bigger team. We did a good job on the glass and forced them into some difficult shots.”

The Eagles’ 17-point win over Prince Avenue comes less than a week after they lost to Athens Academy, another Region 8-A Private squad, 42-34 at home. In that game, the Eagles were getting blown out at halftime, but rallied to cut the score to just two points late in regulation before the Spartans pulled away.

Against a comparable opponent in Prince Avenue, Allen reflected on the improvements the team has made from week one to week two. Much of that improvement has come from the return of Rollins who is a member of the East Jackson competition cheerleading squad which finished fifth in Class AAA on Friday (Nov. 19).

“We’re finally getting in the rhythm of what we’re trying to do on offense,” he said. “Also, the fact that we have all of our players back is another key. With cheerleading wrapping up and Haven Rollins getting back in the mix. She’s a four-year starter, she has a chance to score 1,000 points in her career. It’s almost like we picked up a new player with her coming back from cheerleading.

“Putting her in the mix has only made our offense better, but it’s helped our depth and helped equally with our practice situations. Adding her and a couple of other cheerleaders as well to the practices have really helped create more competitive practices.”

East Jackson aims to continue its winning ways on Wednesday (Nov. 24) when it plates Kennesaw Mountain (0-0, 0-0 Region 1-AAAAAA) at Apalachee High School. The Eagles also play Christian Heritage (0-2, 0-0 Region 1-A Private) at Apalachee on Friday (Nov. 26).


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