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Lady Eagles cruises over Kinston

The Lady Eagles opened up a 23-point lead at halftime and cruised from there on the way to a 59-15 home win over Kinston Friday night.

Pleasant Home finished its area slate with a 6-0 record and improved to 16-3 overall. It is the first undefeated area season for the Lady Eagles under head coach Kelley Garner.

“One of our goals at the start of the year was to go undefeated and host the tournament here,” Garner said. “We’re excited about it and looking forward to next week. We’ll have some tough games that will prepare us for games down the road, hopefully.”

Pleasant Home led 51-14 after the third quarter and only allowed Kinston a single free throw in the fourth. Garner said she was able to play her entire bench, and got some much needed playing time for the younger players on the team.

“We had a rough, tough game (Thursday) night in Bethlehem,” Garner said. “We won in overtime and we had two that got injured. We were pretty tired and we were able to rest some legs tonight. I got my young girls in and got them some experience, and hopefully that will pay off in the future.”

Erin Byrd led the Lady Eagles with 15 points, followed by eighth grader Ashley Copeland who added 10. Another eighth grader, Raven Woods, finished with five rebounds and four steals. Ariel Gunter and Brentin Fuller each scored eight points.

Garner said that from the beginning of the season, she felt her team had a chance to go undefeated in area play.

“We’ve got senior leadership,” she said. “We have experience and got everybody back from last year except for one player. So we were expecting some good things and we hope to just carry it over into the area tournament.”

The Lady Eagles played lockdown defense all night, allowing the Lady Bulldogs just eight points in the first half and seven in the second half. In addition, Pleasant Home used defensive pressure to force turnovers, leading to easy fast-break opportunities.

“Our bread and butter is our defense,” Garner said. “We really work on it and emphasize defense. We used the half-court trap off and on tonight, but that’s our standard. We have to take every advantage that we can get, and we feel like our quickness is one of our strong points.”