Eastside defeats Buchholz


Kent Johnson, head coach of the Eastside High School Lady Rams basketball team, gives team members advice during a timeout at the last home game of the season.

AARON DAYE/Gainesville Guardian
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 1:51 p.m.
The Lady Rams of Eastside High School had to come from behind to beat a scrappy and determined Buchholz Bobcat team at the EHS Cage on Saturday night in what was the final home game for the seniors.
A packed house watched as Buchholz played a near-perfect first half before succumbing to the more talented Lady Rams in the second half, 72-54.
The Lady Rams won the tip and Sharnae Ivery drove to the hole to open up the scoring. Katrice Mulberry followed Ivery's layup with a drive to the basket of her own to put the Lady Rams ahead 4-0 It looked like the Lady Rams, 22-1, were about to make quick work of the Bobcats, as Latoya Williams was fouled and went to the line where she converted one of two free throws to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Bobcats (15-7 and ranked 10th in Class 6A) proved they had every intention of trying to win the game. They came down the court and hit a 3-pointer, then scored another basket to tie the game at 5 with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Moments later, Williams showed the crowd why she is one of the top prospects in the state, as she blocked a shot then ran the floor and scored after receiving a pass from a teammate, putting the Lady Rams ahead 11-8 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.
The first quarter ended with the Lady Rams ahead 14-11.
The Bobcats would continue to stick close to the Lady Rams, ranked sixth in Class 5A, as Williams sat out the entire second quarter because of foul trouble.
Neither team would lead by more than two points most of the quarter. The Bobcats enjoyed a 20-18 lead with 2:40 left. They went on to outscore the Lady Rams 7-2 the rest of the quarter, finishing off the scoring by hitting a running turnaround jumper at the buzzer to go into the half leading 27-20.
The Lady Rams, led by Williams' dominant play in the second half, closed the door on the Bobcats' hopes for an upset. Though the Bobcats kept it close, as is evidenced by the score at the end of the third quarter, 44-40 with Eastside in the lead, the Lady Rams would pull away in the fourth quarter.
Eastside Head Coach Kent Johnson, using Williams as the center-point, had his team put on a full-court press that forced Buchholz into several turnovers. Eastside, led by Williams' 20 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals, outscored Buchholz 28-14 in the final quarter.
With one regular season game left, followed by the district tournament in Leesburg Jan. 31-Feb. 4 and another run at a state championship, Williams will finish her career as the Lady Rams' career leader in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Mulberry will finish as the No. 2 all-time scorer and all-time steals leader. Jasmine Sheppard will leave as the all-time assist leader.
Other seniors who were honored along with their parents before their final home game were, Latoya Lewis, senior class president Miaya McCray and Tiffany Anderson.
"We've kind of grown up together," said Johnson, noting that he has a special bond with this group of seniors. "They are a great group and I feel very close to each of them, and they've worked very hard to achieve this success."

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