GHS overwhelms Eastside

Gainesville's Ike Smith (32) tries to get the ball to the basket over the Eastside defenders during Friday's game at Santa Fe College.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 11:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 11:32 p.m.

When a game is on the line, coaches are always looking for their best players to step up and take over.

On Friday night at Santa Fe College, Gainesville's 6-foot-6 junior Isaiah Jackson did just that.

Jackson scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth period, sparking the Hurricanes to a 29-point quarter to turn a close game into a convincing 73-53 win over city-rival Eastside.

Gainesville (11-7) led only 44-42 after three periods of play, but went on a 11-4 run early in the fourth, getting a 3-pointer from Jackson and great bench play from freshman Ronte Oates to open a 55-46 advantage.

That lead only grew as Jackson scored eight points during an 18-1 run to break the game wide open for Gainesville's third straight victory on the season. It was the most lopsided win in the series since GHS posted a 13-point victory in 2009.

“He picked it up a little bit in the fourth, but the first and fourth quarters we got to the rim and played like we should have played,” said Hurricane coach Kelly Beckham. “In the second and third, we kind of got away from our game plan.

“Your best players have to carry you down the stretch.”

Jackson also led the team in rebounds with 11 and assists with nine.

Equally as impressive was the play of Oates, who came off the bench and scored 11 points.

“He is going to be a good one,” Beckham said. “He has a great attitude and a good work ethic. We look forward to having him another three years.”

Junior Kevin Bolen had 17 points and sophomore Ike Smith added 11 for the 'Canes, who will host two big District 5-6A games next week, including front-runner and MaxPreps' No. 2 Leesburg next Friday.

Sir Jackson scored a game-high 24 points for the Rams, who dropped to 6-11 on the season.

Early on, it looked like Gainesville was going to cruise to victory, opening an early 13-point lead (21-8) about halfway through the second period. But Eastside scored 11 unanswered points and tied the game at 23-all on one of two 3-pointers by Jackson. Gainesville was able to cling to a 25-24 halftime edge.

Jackson's opening basket in the third gave the Rams their first lead of the game. But after a couple of ties, the Hurricanes once again clinged to a slim lead heading into the fourth.

Prior to Friday's game, five of the previous six meetings were decided by four points or less, and it looked like that would be the case again in the fourth. But missed free throws by Eastside led to instant offense for Jackson and Oates of GHS, who combined for 21 points in the fourth.

“We ran out of gas,” said Rams coach Pop Williams. “They played a good first half. Third quarter, I thought we came out pretty good, but because I don't really have a lot of subs, it really caught up. Sir missed a bunch of free throws down the stretch, and once we fell behind we lost some confidence in ourselves.”

Eastside hit on just 12-of-23 free throws and only 5-of-33 on 3-point attempts.

Beckham is hopeful this winning streak will continue for the 'Canes, who lost to Leesburg and 5A No. 1 Lake Wales prior to their latest run.

“If we had played some of those ranked teams like we are playing right now, I think it would have been a little bit different,” he said. “I'm not saying they would be W's, but we would have given them a run.”

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