- Gainesville, FL. Written by Kyrin Mayfield.
It was a clash of Gainesville titans as the Eastside High Rams played the Gainesville High
Hurricanes Friday night at Santa Fe College.
Both teams came in leading their districts which set up for an intense rivalry game with the Canes looking for revenge, but not everyone buys into the hype. Eastside Head Coach Herman Williams said there’s more important games on his team’s schedule.
“I don’t put too much emphasis on rivalry games. You can still win the rivalry game and lose the
district,” Williams said.
Eastside won the first matchup 51-41 back in December thanks to 18 points from Korin Bradley
and a 19-point fourth quarter. The Rams came into tonight’s game allowing only 39 points-per-game, and are outscoring opponents by an average of 20 points per game.
Gainesville’s defense has been playing well, too. Head Coach Kelly Beckham said his team’s D is what got them to the top of their district.
“It’s our defense. We’ve been playing man-to-man pretty solid. We’ve just been struggling
offensively," Beckham said.
A packed gymnasium was ready for a show as hundreds of fans were drowning the music down
to a muffle. Neither team could pull away in first quarter as the Rams led 9-8 thanks to five points from Bradley.
Eastside poured it on soon after as they went on a 8-2 run just two minutes into the second
quarter. An emphatic alley-oop by Anthony Richardson brought the entire building to its feet. Even
some Gainesville fans were shocked.
“It was my favorite play,” said Gainesville fan Donald “Pop” Wilburn.
He credited the Rams success to the players looking, “so much bigger and older.” Richardson’s
dunk fueled the fire behind the Rams halftime lead as they went into the locker room up 24-16.
The Canes showed they weren’t going to give up as they retook the lead off a 10-1 run to
begin the third quarter. However, the Rams stayed strong and retained a three point lead heading into
the final quarter.
Richardson added another dunk to his résumé, igniting a thundering roar, as Eastside held a slim
five-point lead with one minute to go. Gainesville pulled within three as Desmond Ridgeway hit two key
free throws. Eastside added two of their own thanks to Bradley and the lead was back to five with 23
A clutch lay-up by Gainesville with under two seconds to go had them within one
possession, but an intentional foul on Emontae Shannon sealed Eastside’s 48-43 victory as he made both shots from the charity stripe.
Coach Williams was pleased with how the game went for his team.
“It went well. Gainesville fought hard," Williams said. "(Rod) Williams played a hell of a game.”
However, he did it admit his team, “had a mental breakdown,” when they let Gainesville come
back and take the lead in the third quarter.
“It’s a tough game. Emotions will get high.”
Rod Williams led Gainesville with 12 points while Eastside was led by Richardson and Bradley,
who had 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Richardson rated his game a solid seven out of ten. While he performed well offensively, he said
he needs to work on his, “boxing out, playing defense and not getting too many fouls.”
Eastside improved to 15-2 on the season as they look towards facing Williston on Tuesday.
Gainesville fell to 8-9, but still lead their district. They face a quick turnaround as they head to
Jacksonville on Saturday to face Sandalwood.
The two teams face each other one last time on February 8, the final regular season game for both teams.