By Brian Paglia
Almost two months ago, Drew gave Eagle's Landing a loss that transformed the Golden Eagles' season, a loss that prompted personnel moves that brought Eagle's Landing closer to its full potential.
Those changes were on full display in the teams' rematch Tuesday night. Eagle's Landing flustered Drew with its full-court pressure and overwhelmed the Titans with a deep roster, culminating in a 76-59 victory at home Tuesday in a Region 4-AAA game.
Tenth-ranked Eagle's Landing (16-3, 8-3 Region 4-AAA) extended its winning streak to five games and handed Drew (10-7, 8-5) its third loss in four games.
"We felt good. We knew we should have beat them at their place," Eagle's Landing sophomore Eric Wortham said. "Coach (Clay) Crump had us prepared. We knew they couldn't handle the pressure, so we came out with the pressure this time."
Nearly two months transpired since Eagle's Landing lost 87-75 in overtime to Drew on Dec. 7. It was the Golden Eagles' second loss in their first four games of the season.
That loss taught Eagle's Landing a lot about itself. After that loss, Crump moved Aaron Horton to point guard, Wortham to power forward and brought Isaiah Dennis into the starting lineup. The Golden Eagles proceeded to win 13 out of 14 entering Tuesday, it's only loss to Henry County when sophomore center Desmond Ringer went down with a knee injury on the game's first play.
"We came out of that (Drew loss) better," Crump said.
It didn't take long for Eagle's Landing to reveal its new form. Down 19-12 in the first quarter, Horton made a pull-up 3 to spark an 11-0 run and ignite the Golden Eagles.
By halftime, Eagle's Landing led 41-29. When Dennis made a transition dunk at the end of the third quarter, the lead was 58-38.
"I think we're really under-rated and under-talked about," Horton said, "but winning helps us out."
Wortham scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to lead Eagle's Landing. Horton added 16 points, while Dennis had 12 points.
Eloka Olisa led Drew with 15 points, Cory Graves added 14 points, Barry Mayes had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Miles Cosby contributed 10 points.
Eagle's Landing girls 49, Drew 41
Behind Mia Adams' 22 points and the Lady Golden Eagles' staunch defense down the stretch, Eagle's Landing snapped Drew's 9-game winning streak with a 49-41 victory at home in a Region 4-AAA game.
Adams hit a 3-pointer to give Eagle's Landing a 38-35 lead with 5:11 left in the game, and the Lady Golden Eagles never looked back.
"I was a little nervous, because (Drew is) taller than we are, and when we play height we're in trouble," Eagle's Landing coach Lisa Horton said. "But we pulled it out, and that's what counts."
Annissia Wood had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists for
Eagle's Landing (11-9, 6-5 Region 4-AAA). Alexis Smith contributed eight points off the bench, while Makalah Joseph had six points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four steals.
Precious Persons led Drew (11-7, 7-5) with 14 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Lakiya Sims added 10 points and 11 rebounds.