Young Atlanta boys team falls to Leopards; Liberty-Eylau girls rally past Rabbs

Atlanta
Atlanta guard Gracie Smith shoots a free throw Friday at Rabbit Gym. The Lady Rabbs lost to Liberty-Eylau, 65-56.

 

Atlanta boys basketball coach Jarrod Boston probably won’t be retiring anytime soon. Despite Friday’s 73-53 loss to Liberty-Eylau at Rabbit Gym, Boston has to be excited about his team’s future with 6-6 freshman Damion Collins.

Collins had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds against a more experienced Liberty-Eylau team. Freshman Keyshawn Easter was the Rabbits second leading scorer with nine points.

Hot-shooting Leopards burn Atlanta

It was the District 7-4A opener for both teams, and the Leopards led all the way, their first six points coming on a pair of 3-pointers. Five different L-E players converted treys in the first half, and seven total for the game. Decorian Phillips and Talveyion Cooper led the hot-shooting Leopards with 12 points each.

“We’re just trying to play team basketball; we’ve got some shooters,” said Liberty-Eylau’s first-year head coach Stasik Vaughn. “This was a good win for us. Anybody can be beat in this district on a given night. Our strategy is pretty simple, we’re going to shoot a lot and press you. We play defense, too. I think we’re averaging around seventeen to twenty steals per game.”

Earlier in the evening Atlanta gave the Lady Leopards a big scare by racing out to an early 20-10 lead. Liberty-Eylau rebounded to cut its deficit to 31-29 at intermission. L-E then took charge by outscoring Atlanta 26-15 in the third quarter en route to a 65-56 victory.

Crabtree’s 31 points got L-E past Atlanta

Taylor Crabtree prevented the Lady Rabbs from running away in the first half by scoring 19 of her game-high 31 points. Keeley Norris scored 12 points for the winners. Brittany Collins paced the Lady Rabbs with 16 points. Keyona Easter tallied 14 and Shevenia Smith added 11.

“I still think we’re definitely a playoff caliber team,” Atlanta coach Jared Farmer said. “We had it going and lost our momentum. We’re still confident of what we can do.”

Both coaches agreed that the Lady Rabbs started the game with more energy.

“All that matters is that we won, and we did it on to road, too,” L-E coach Aquanetta Watson said. “Atlanta started the game with a lot of energy and we didn’t match them. We were both running, and they jumped ahead early because we didn’t match their tempo. It’s really important to not lose in district early.”

The Leopards are currently tied for first in 7-4A with Pleasant Grove, a 66-44 winner over Pittsburg on Saturday. Madeline Haak led the Lady Hawks with 22 points and 14 rebounds. ShaNequa Henry added 16 points, while Monique Walker and Ashanti Levingston contributed 15 and 10, respectively.

In other action involving Texarkana teams, Texas High’s boys routed host Greenville, 88-49. The Tigers had four players scoring in double digits with Cole Drumm leading the way with 18 points. C.J. Kelley scored 14, while Kyle Wright and Caleb Wilson contributed 10 each.

Texas High’s girls rolled over Greenville at Tiger Center, 74-24. Amiyiah Rone led the Lady Tigers with 13 points. Sedaya Finley, Antonia Porter and Kerrighan Dunn scored 11 points each.

Arkansas High’s boys improved to 9-5 by routing De Queen, 67-36. Fabion Phillips poured in 23 points for the Razorbacks, while Cameron Dockery scored 18.

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