EAST Jackson beat Commerce for the third time this season, but win no. 3 over the Lady Tigers proved much more cumbersome than the previous two.
The Lady Eagles hung on for a 46-38 victory Saturday at home after having routed Commerce by 26 and 28 points respectively in the first two meetings.
“I think it’s really difficult to beat a team 3 times,” East Jackson coach Katie David said. “We had a lot of youth step up for us.”
East Jackson trailed 29-26 late in the third quarter before using a 13-0 run to overtake its nearby non-region rivals. Junior guard Kelsey Palette scored 22 points to pace the Lady Eagles.
“As far as Kelsey goes, she played great,” David said. “She got after it on both ends, shot the ball really well and showed an aggressiveness that we need from her at all times.”
Taylor Patrick added nine points for the Lady Eagles, who won for the second time in three games. East Jackson drilled 12 three-pointers in its last meeting with Commerce. But with those shots not falling Saturday, Patrick’s inside presence was crucial.
“I was really pleased with Taylor Patrick, especially in the second half because she established our post game and we really needed that because shots just were not going for us,” David said.
David pointed to other players who stepped up in the win.
“Emily Turner gave us a great second half, and Taylor Beatty really stepped up as a freshman and brought our defense toughness and intensity,” she said, noting that Beatty was playing with an injured thumb.
East Jackson was coming off a 55-33 loss to Region 8-AA South foe Elbert County Friday.
East Jackson managed just two first quarter points and trailed 24-11 at the half. The deficit grew to 40-21 after three quarters.
“I think we were plenty prepared for what we knew we had to deal with — the athleticism, fast pace and atmosphere,” David said. “We just didn’t perform on the level we can.”
Patrick led the team with 14 points and was the only Lady Eagle to reach double figures.
“Taylor Patrick had a really good game and kept us contending,” David said. “She was very aggressive, finishing with 14 points and going to the line 17 times.”