By Doug Gorman
Eagle's Landing head coach Clay Crump wasn't happy with the way his team played defense before the holiday break.
He fixed it with a simple request.
The veteran coach asked his team to sign a pledge that stated they would give a 100 percent defensive effort down the stretch and also take care of the basketball on offense.
The Golden Eagles bought into their coach's request, and it worked to perfection as they opened the second half of the season with a 68-41 victory over Rutland.
"Everybody signed it, and it's on the door in there," Crump said pointing to the locker room.
With the win, Eagle's Landing improved its record to 6-5 overall and 5-2 in Region 4-AAA action. Rutland dropped to 5-5 overall and 2-3 in league play.
Early in the game, it looked like the contest was going to go down to the wire. The contest was tied 17-all at the end of the first quarter and again at 24-all midway through the second quarter.
Eric Worthen then hit a basket for the Golden Eagles to give the squad a 26-24 lead. The basket sparked a 9-0 run and Eagle's Landing led 33-24 at the half.
"We had two of our starters on the bench early, one with two fouls and one with three, and we just weren't rebounding well. We started rebounding better and we stopped giving away second shots and we just tightended up our concentration. We started breaking their press a little bit and getting some easy shots, and our defensive effort took over too," Crump said.
The Golden Eagles used a combination of timely offense and stout defense in the third quarter, to turn a game close game at one time into a rout.
Verdis Morgan scored six quick points for the Golden Eagles and eigtht of the team's first 10 points in the third quarter to help his squad outscore the Hurricanes 16-6 in the period and led 49-30 heading into the final period.
Warren Staples helped control the offense for the Golden Eagles, finishing with 16 points to lead Eagle's Landing. Morgan added 12. Rutland was paced by Tevin Oliver who added 20,
The Golden Eagles continued to pour it on in the third quarter as Javan Wells, Hector Carrasquillo and Garrison Stocks each hit three point shots.
Lady Golden Eagles roll in girls game: The Eagle's Landing girls basketball team spotted Rutland the first basket of the game, but then the rest of the night belonged to the Lady Golden Eagles.
Once Eagle's Landing took the lead when Akia Armstrong hit three staight three throws, they straight out in front for good.
It translated to into 56-29 lead victory.
Rutland came into the game undefeated in Region 4-AA.
The Lady Golden Eagles improved tp 7-2 overall and 5-2 in Region 4-AA. Rutland dropped to 7-3 oveall and 4-1 in Region 4-AAA.
Eagle's Landing sprinted out to an 8-2 lead and built it to 13-6 at the end of the first quarter when Mia Adams connected on a 3-point shot.
Addms added another 3-point shot in the second quarter and Eagle's Landing led 28-19 at the break.
Rutland played its best basketball of the night late in the second quarter when Shaketsa Hodges and Latesha Williams hit back-to-back three point shots, but the 25-19 lead was as close as they could get.
Eagle's Landing exploded in the third quarter behind the play of Armstrong, who hit three 3-point shots in the middle stanza.
Armstrong's offensive explosion in the third quarter helped her led the Lady Golden Eagles in scoring with 24 points. Adams added 14 points.