The Eastbrook Mustangs were in need of a good stir after a lackluster first half against North Whitfield on Monday.

They found the solution in their smallest player on the court.

Coleman Jenkins sank three 3-pointers as Eastbrook went on a 13-4 third-quarter run on the way to a 25-18 win at home in the opening round of the North Georgia Middle School Athletic League’s seventh grade tournament.

Early on, the Pioneers (3-10) forced Eastbrook (7-6) to play their style of basketball — and by keeping the offense and pace to a minimum, went to halftime with a 7-5 lead.

Although the Mustangs never led in the first half, they went ahead briefly when Jenkins sank his first 3 just more than a half-minute into the third quarter. They went ahead for good when he hit his second to put Eastbrook ahead 11-9.

“That turned the ballgame right there,” Eastbrook coach Javy Taylor said. “He got hot and it woke the rest of the team up and got them ready to play ball. He’s hit a lot of big shots for us this season, but none bigger than those.”

Jenkins’ nine points made him the game’s top scorer, while teammate Caleb Williamson added eight. Zavian Addison led the Pioneers with five.

The Mustangs started the fourth quarter with an 18-11 lead and pushed it to 10 points twice. North Whitfield’s Luke Woodson hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining for the final margin.

“(North Whitfield) controlled the tempo during the first half,” Taylor said. “Give them credit.”

Though unhappy to be out of the tourney so early, Pioneers coach Shane Pendley said his team’s improvement in the latter half of the season was a good sign.

“I’m disappointed we’re 3-10,” Pendley said. “But I’m awful proud of the progress we’ve made this year. They’re good boys.”

Eastbrook 34, Westside 24: The undersized Lady Rockets (3-10) led 7-4 early in the second quarter, but a 12-3 run to close the half sent Eastbrook to the locker room with a 16-10 edge.

Westside stayed in striking distance during the second half, but never regained the lead. The Lady Rockets closed the gap to 16-13 on Brittany Dale’s 3-pointer midway through the third, and made it 29-24 on Jenna Williams’ 3 with 1:42 to play.

The Lady Mustangs went 5-for-6 at the free throw line down the stretch to seal the victory.

“We started out flat and finished pretty flat,” Eastbrook coach Lance Miner said. “But we hit our free throws and we got the ‘W.’”

Brianna Sosebee scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Lady Mustangs, while teammates Shelby McFarland and Megan Young each added five.

“(Sosebee) has been pretty consistent all year,” Miner said. “She comes out and is a good team leader. She gets the job done every time.”

Westside coach Ty Moreland said the Lady Rockets gave a solid showing in their final appearance.

“Today the game was close throughout,” he said. “We had a chance at all times. I was pleased with today’s effort.”

Jenna Williams topped Westside with 12.

Other NGMSAL games:

Seventh grade boys

Gladden 45, Westside 28: Jeffrey Cole scored 17 points and Tyler Adams pitched in 11 for Gladden, which raced to a 20-4 halftime lead en route to the win. Brian Pitts paced Westside with nine points.

Gladden (7-6) faces No. 1 seed Dalton (11-0) Thursday night at the Cougars’ gym.

Bagley 54, Valley Point 16: The Braves had no trouble scoring, as 15 different players found the basket in their victory.

Adam Spivey led with eight points, while Taylor Patterson added seven.

Anthony Suarez led Valley Point with six.

Bagley hosts Eastbrook on Thursday.

Seventh grade girls

North Whitfield 51, Gladden 9: Amanda Rector led North Whitfield (11-1) with 19 points and Sydney Roberts contributed 10.

Kelcey Weaver led winless Gladden (0-13) with four points.

North Whitfield hosts Eastbrook in the next round on Thursday.

Valley Point 34, Bagley 17: Danielle Pierson scored a game-high 17 and Ashley Strong added 13 as Valley Point rolled.

Kayla Stanley topped Bagley with nine.

Valley Point travels to play top-seeded Dalton Thursday.

Middle school girls

Christian Heritage 42 Grace Baptist 15: Caty Nagle led CHS with 18 points to help the Lady Lions improve their mark to 13-3.

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