The Trojans welcomed the Ripley Tigers to Cleveland, while Ruleville played host to the Alcorn Central Bears at Ruleville.
Both the Trojans and Tigers were in tight tilts with their opponents, but when the chips were down each team came up with strong defensive stops to pull out the victories.
East Side (21-9) defeated Ripley 53-45, and Ruleville (18-7) beat Alcorn Central 59-52 to advance to the quarterfinals 3A North State Playoffs in Mooreville.
East Side is scheduled to play Water Valley at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, while Ruleville is set to take on North Panola at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
East Side and Ripley battled tight in the first quarter to a 14-10 score, which was in favor of East Side. The game began to shift in the second quarter as the Trojans’ stepped up their defense.
Ripley scored the first points of the second quarter for a 14-12 game, but that would be the last points they would score for a while as East Side went on a 12-0 run to take a 26-12 lead.
During that stretch, the Trojans forced turnovers and made key blocks to keep Ripley off the scoreboard.
With time ticking off the clock as the game headed into halftime, Ripley's Cord Thomas scored on a put back to bring the Tigers’ second quarter point total to four points and a 26-14 halftime deficit.
"Our defense was strong tonight,” East Side head coach Leroy Cotton said. “I think we played fairly well for a while tonight. Every year is different and this year I think we are set up to make a run.”
In the second half, the Trojans continued what they had done in the first half as they increased their lead 41-33 at the end of the third.
East Side outscored Ripley 12-6 to start the fourth to jump out to a 53-39 lead. With the game seemingly intact, the Trojans began to run a control offense, but Ripley didn't stop fighting and the Tigers forced several turnovers as they crept back in the game by going on a 6-0 run for a 53-45 score, but time ran out on Ripley and East Side held on for the victory.
Jon Paul Davis led East Side with 17 points and 16 rebounds, followed by Perry Henry with 13 points and Brant Williams with eight points. Canaan Ratliff led Ripley with 17 points, followed by Anfernee Rutherford with 11 points.
The Ruleville Central Tigers battled with the Alcorn Central Bears from start to finish.
In the fourth quarter, things really became tight as Ruleville trailed by seven points. The Tigers clamped down on defense and made four consecutive stops that also resulted in Ruleville points to go up on Alcorn Central.
With 3:20 left to play, Ruleville led by five points and as the game continued to roll, the Tigers did well as they increased their lead to 10 points with 2:20 remaining in the game.
In the final period the Tigers were able to keep the Bears at bay by making 9-of-12 free throws in the quarter.
"We overcame foul trouble and when we needed to play good defense we did. I knew were more athletic than they were, we just had to settle down and play our game," said Ruleville head coach Don Bankhead.
Xavier Appleberry led Ruleville with 17 points, followed by Tyquan Rule with 13 points and Demarcus Bracey with 11 points.