Eagles pull away for season-opening win

Published 10:06 am Saturday, December 1, 2018

Prince Edward County High School’s varsity boys basketball team put together an inspiring start to the 2018-19 season Friday night when it took what had been a close, back-and-forth game against visiting Altavista High School and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 62-50 victory.

The game also marked the beginning of Michael Jackson Jr.’s tenure as Eagles head coach, taking over for James Scott, the beloved longtime leader of the program who retired from coaching basketball at the conclusion of  last season.

Jackson was pleased with where his new team ended up Friday.

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“First game, we had a little jitters,” he said. “Other than that, second half, we picked it up a lot and got a lot better. So, I think that for the first game, we did really good.”

Asked if he thought Prince Edward was sluggish in the first half in terms of pace, Jackson said, “I think a lot of it (is) we’re transitioning from football to basketball, so from a mental standpoint, that’s where we’re at right now, but slowly we’re making progress …”

The Eagles’ top two scorers were student-athletes who were standouts on the varsity football field this past fall. Senior guard/forward Rah’Quan Payne led Prince Edward with 22 points, senior guard Tajh White scored 15 and senior guard Rodney Sprague added 12.

Sprague, a key ball handler for the Eagles, fouled out around the midpoint of the fourth quarter, but Prince Edward showed resilience, keeping the Colonels at bay.

The effort and energy Prince Edward played with throughout the game, both on offense and defense, was impressive.

The Eagles (1-0) return to action Tuesday when they host Cumberland County High School for its season opener.