The beginning of the Northeast Lady Eagles’ season on Tuesday night could not have gone differently than it did last year.
They met up with the same opponent to open the season, the Beech Lady Buccaneers, who beat them 60-18 in 2019. This time, Northeast exacted revenge and claimed a 62-50 victory to start the new season with a win.
“We talked about them beating us so bad last year,” said NEHS head coach Tracie Mason-Blair. “I said we need to go in and play with a chip on our shoulder, and they came out, and I was impressed. I was impressed with the way they came out and started playing.”
It only took Northeast just over one quarter to top their scoring output from last season, as they went into halftime with a 28-18 lead. The second half got shoddy at times, especially when Beech put together a 21-point fourth quarter behind 11 points from Jada Jones in the period, but the Lady Eagles held on.
Both Jones and Northeast guard Cierra Bowser led the game with 18 points apiece. Bowser’s primary sidekicks were Emoni McCray and Kahlia Flowers, who each added 13 points, and Adryanna Smith who contributed 10. Those girls, among others, will need to step up to aid reigning first-team all-county selection Bowser this season if the Lady Eagles are going to make a splash this season.
“I thought Kahlia Flowers played well tonight, I thought Emoni McCray played well tonight, (and) I thought Adrianna Smith played well tonight,” Mason-Blair said. “Hopefully all of them will step up their game and help her out a little bit. We got a couple transfers in, and I like them once they get into our system.”
Beech’s only other double-digit scorer was Christa Dean. The Lady Bucs dominated NEHS in free throw shooting, making 11 of their 15 attempts compared to Northeast’s 13-for-30 outing. Beech also made eight three-pointers compared to the Lady Eagles’ seven. But the spot where Northeast held a significant advantage was defensively – and especially getting good looks in transition.
“We want to make decent defense one of our staples,” Mason-Blair said. “We want to put pressure on people and make them turn the ball over. We didn’t full-court press a lot, but we did put pressure on the ball. We can’t let them shoot. They’re great shooters. We’ve got to get a hand up. They hit some big shots right there at the end, but we’re going to try and play some defense and score some easy buckets.”
The Lady Eagles will look to keep their strong start going on Tuesday, Nov. 24 against Kenwood. Beech’s next chance to get in the win column comes on Monday, Nov. 23 at home against Lincoln County.
Northeast (62): Cierra Bowser 18, Emoni McCray 13, Kahlia Flowers 13, Adryanna Smith 10, Krysonie Mitchell 8.
Beech (50): Jada Jones 18, Christa Dean 13, Laci Walmer 8, Kyndal Chenault 8, Riley Messer 3.