Eastside girls hoops reaches state playoffs


Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.

It is not often a team can score five points in the final period, have one of its leading scorers total just one point and still win by 25.

Eastside’s girls basketball team pulled off such a feat in its gym Tuesday, beating North Marion 54-29, in the semifinals of the District 6-5A tournament and clinching a berth in the state playoffs in the process.

The Rams (12-10), the No. 2 seed, advance to Friday’s district title game against top-seeded and second-ranked Palatka. The Panthers (21-2) pounded Belleview 68-8 in the other semifinal.

Senior guard Tiara Lundy, one of the area’s top scorers, showed why against the Colts, scoring 20 of her 23 points in the first half as Eastside opened a 35-18 lead.

“She is tough, she wants to win,” said Rams first-year coach Lance Radford. “When the ball is in her hands, she is going to do all she can to put the game away.

“You can’t fault the effort at all. The girl that wants to win is hard to stop sometimes.”

Lundy hit the back-to-back 3-pointers, one to close the first period (17-10) and the other to open the second. The Rams, who will be making their 10th state playoff appearance in the last 12 years, outscored North Marion 32-10 in the second and third periods combined.

“Tonight I thought we played well,” Radford said. “It was physical, but we handled it. We went out and did our job. We’ve got to do better at the free throw line and we’ve got to rebound better. Especially against Palatka. They have size inside and we’ve got to do our job inside and limit their offensive possessions.”

The Rams hit on just 7-of-17 free throws, and Jurnee Pettigrew, who averages 13.4 points per game, scored just one on Tuesday.

“She was getting in position and it was physical at times,” Radford said. “I guess it was one of those nights for her.”

Eastside lost both regular-season meetings against Palatka, but only by three (39-36) at home.

“It is just the little things. We want to limit their offensive possessions and keep the score down,” Radford said. “They shot the ball well at their place. It should be a good game.” The majority of their points are going to come inside from their big girl (Jonell Williams). She is definitely a tough one.”

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