FRESHMAN STAR

East Jackson freshman Antonia Pittman pushes the ball up the floor in the Eagles' win over Apalachee Tuesday (Nov. 26). Pittman scored 19 points as the East Jackson girls improved to 5-2. 

Playing in a Thanksgiving tournament at Apalachee, the East Jackson girls’ basketball team got itself an extra helping of victories.

The Eagles went 3-0 in the event, capped off with a 61-27 trouncing of the host Wildcats Tuesday (Nov. 26).

East Jackson defeated Clarke Central, Berkmar and Apalachee in the tournament. The team is now 5-2 under first-year coach Cherrelle Pullen and has won its last four games.

“I definitely hope this momentum carries on, and we keep going in the same direction,” Pullen said. “I’m very excited that we went 3-0 here, especially that first game against (Clarke) Central. That was a big game for us. So, we’re looking to keep our foot on the gas, let off the brakes.”

Freshman Antonia Pittman sparked Tuesday’s rout of Apalachee, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 19 points. Kenzie Whitehead added 12 points.

Once again rattling an opponent with its defensive pressure, East Jackson sprinted out to a 11-1 lead over the Wildcats, which turned into a 16-5 advantage after a quarter.

“The energy impressed me the most again,” Pullen said. “We still stuck by defense, from the tip of the jump ball towards the end of the game.”

East Jackson built a 29-11 lead with 1:12 left in the second quarter after Pittman nailed a 3-pointer, one of eight treys on the night for the Eagles.

“It has improved,” Pullen said of her team’s 3-point shooting, “especially since those games early on. We’ve definitely been working a lot more on our shooting, especially under exhaustion and being tired. So, we’ve been trying to make sure everything we were weak at, we’ve been focusing on.”

East Jackson carried the 29-11 lead into the half and opened up a 50-17 lead after three quarters. Pittman ended the third quarter with back-to-back layups, part of an 8-2 run.

With the Eagles leading by 33 points, the fourth quarter was shortened to six minutes.

East Jackson led by as many as 38 points in the final frame.

Pullen said she felt her team shot the ball well in the win, though it missed too many lay-ups, she said. Her goal for the team was not to exceed four misses.

“I think we were over four,” she said. “I’ve got to watch film to see … But we shot a lot better than what we have been.”

A surging East Jackson team won’t play again until Dec. 6 when it opens region play at Franklin County. Pullen said the break over Thanksgiving will be beneficial.

“We need to heal some injured players and get our legs up under us before we start region play,” Pullen said. “So, I think it’s good we’re getting some time off to enjoy family and friends.”

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