No. 2 Eastside tops city rival Gainesville

The streaks continue for the Eastside boys basketball team.

On Friday night at Eastside High School, the Rams jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening quarter and cruised to a 72-59 win at home against city rival Gainesville High.

Jarvey Gainey scored 11 of his game-high 30 points in the first quarter and single-handedly outscored the Hurricanes, who trailed 21-8 after the opening quarter.

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“We played well tonight,” said Eastside coach “Pop” Williams, whose team won its 10th straight game since an overtime loss to Santa Fe (Alachua). “We came out ready to play. We shot well and we defended.”

Eastside (13-1) defeated GHS for the sixth straight time thanks to an opportunistic defense that created turnovers early and turned them into fast break points.

“We played good defense,” Williams said. “We put them in some bad situations and that really helped us too.”

Gainesville’s Justus Wilburn picked up two quick fouls in the opening quarter and sat for most of the first half. That made it tougher for a young GHS team that was already down three starters for the season.

GHS v. Eastside

Still, the ‘Canes were in it late, trailing 66-55 with 2:44 to play.

“Considering we were a little shorthanded tonight, I thought our team played with great energy and we’re making improvements as far as getting better,” said Gainesville coach Kelly Beckham, who has not had his entire team for a single game or practice all season long. “You have to give Eastside credit. Every time we would make a run and have an opportunity to cut it to single digits they would hit a big shot.”

Gainey scored eight in the final quarter to help put the game away.

Senior Omar Brown made two free throws for Eastside in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points.

“It feels good,” Brown said. “It was a good battle. We just came out on top.” 

Sophomore Theo Stevens led the ‘Canes with 21 points. He hit a 3-pointer in each quarter to help keep GHS within striking distance.

Gainesville’s tournament game at Wildwood on Monday has been canceled. GHS will play next on Tuesday night at Vanguard (Ocala).

Eastside, which is now ranked second in the state in Class 4A, will host Bradford (Starke) on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

Williams said the team still needs to make improvements.

“We’ve got to make free throws,” he said. “And we’ve got to play better ball side defense. If we can do those things, then I think we’re going to do pretty well this season.”

GHS will host Eastside in a rematch on Friday, Feb. 5. The game will be broadcast on 106.9 FM “I am Country” beginning at 7 p.m. with the pregame show. The tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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