After a rough start to the DQ Classic tournament at Hart County that resulted in back-to-back losses, the Lady Eagles of East Jackson rebounded last Tuesday with a victory over Carver, Columbus to make them 4-7 overall.
Up next is a trip to Dawson County to face the Lady Tigers in region pairing on Friday. The two teams last met up in the first round of 8AA tournament play last season, where Dawson County won 51-44.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Lady Eagles started out play in the DQ Classic last Friday with an opening loss to host Hart County. The Lady Bulldogs took control of the game early, pulling out to a 13-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Hart County continued to hold East Jackson at bay, allowing only five points to be scored in the second quarter while they picked up 16, making the score 29-9 at the half.
East Jackson found some momentum in the third quarter, and was able to add more points on the board to make the score 58-23 by the end. Hart County continued to control the game, and pulled away to a 72-35 win.
Autumn Wilbanks led East Jackson in scoring with 13 points, while Dynelle Todman had seven and Mikki McGinnis had six.
Next up for the Lady Eagles was a pairing against Monroe Area, a team that has had its own struggles so far in the season.
East Jackson took control early, and held a one-point lead, 11-10, at the end of the first quarter. The game remained close through the second quarter, as the Lady Eagles maintained the lead going into the half, 25-20.
In the third quarter, the Lady Eagles continued to work to maintain their lead, and held Monroe Area at bay with a 36-30 score at the end of the quarter.
But the advantage slipped away in the fourth quarter as the Lady Bulldogs surged and came away with a 55-47 win.
Shelby Johnson, Callie Moore and Wilbanks led in scoring for East Jackson with nine points, while McGinnis scored eight against Monroe Area. McGinnis led in rebounds with 13, while Kaitlin Hill had seven. Moore also had three steals on the game.
“We are definitely in a slump right now but I saw some good things in the Monroe Area game,” coach Amy Larimer said after the loss. “We were aggressive both defensively and offensively and played with more intensity than we have the last few games. If we continue to play hard things will start to look up.”
Things finally did look up for East Jackson in their next game, as they closed out the tournament with a victory over Carver out of Columbus.
After trailing in the first quarter, 12-10, the Lady Eagles came back in the second quarter to take control of the game, and move out to a 33-23 lead at the half. East Jackson continued to pace the game, moving out to a 50-34 lead by the end of the third quarter. The Lady Eagles then had to hold off a late charge by the Carver team that saw them move to within five points, but kept them at bay to pick up the 61-56 victory.
Wilbanks led East Jackson in scoring with 28 points, while Johnson scored 13 and Bralee Griffin scored eight. Caroline Hicks led in rebounds with nine, while McGinnis had seven and Wilbanks and Griffin both had five. Johnson had three assists. Hicks had four steals, while Moore and Wilbanks both had three.
“That was a much needed and well deserved win,” Larimer said. “It was a great team effort with everyone contributing. We played hard the entire game and pulled out a gutsy performance. It was especially good to get this win going into region play. Hopefully we can keep the hard work going.”