TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — It doesn’t always take offensive firepower to win games.
The Eastern boys basketball team showed how to win games from the defensive end Tuesday night, as the Eagles defeated Meigs 45-31 at “The Nest”.
Meigs (9-10) took the early edge after out scoring the Eagles (8-13) 4-to-3 in the slow paced first period. Eastern rallied in the second period to score 16 points, while the Marauders managed just five in the second. EHS led 19-9 at halftime.
After the break the Green and White went on a 10-to-5 run to expand their lead to 15 points. The Marauders got things going with an 8-to-1 run to end the third period trailing 30-22. Meigs scored nine point in the fourth period but EHS marked 15 to seal the 45-31 victory.
“We’re getting hot at the right time, the kids are playing well and they’re buying into the system,” Eastern coach Corey Britton said. “It all starts at the defensive end and for us, that’s the fourth straight game that we haven’t surrendered 50 points and it feels great.”
The Eagles were led by Max Carnahan with 18 points in the game, followed by Chase Cook with 13. Zakk Heaton and Kirk Pullins each had five points, Brent Welch marked two, while Troy Gantt and Christian Speelman each finished with one point.
Pullins finished with team-highs in rebounds with eight and steals with four. Eastern as a team finished with 27 rebounds, eight steals, six assists and four blocks. The Eagles turned the ball over 12 times in the victory.
The Green and White shot 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from the free throw line and 14-of-34 (41.2 percent) from the field, including 2-of-5 (40 percent) from beyond the arc. Carnahan accounted for both EHS triples.
“We played good hard defense tonight, we did good things but we just gotta get the ball to go in the hole,” Meigs coach David Kight said. “We are doing everything but finishing the play, we are getting good quality shots but we’re hitting a stretch now where we’re kinda tired and we are going to fight through this.”
Jared Williamson led the Marauders with nine points, followed by Kaileb Sheets with seven. Ty Phelps and Jordan Hutton each finished with four points, Dillon Boyer marked three, while Dustin Ulbrich and Cody Stewart each finished with two points.
Meigs shot 14-of-20 (70 percent) from the charity stripe and 8-of-49 (16.3 percent) from the field, including 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) from three point range. Sheets accounted for the lone MHS triple.
Eastern has now won five of their last six games, while Meigs has dropped four of their last five contests.
“It starts with our kids, they are playing so hard, they’re listening and they are doing what they’re coached to do,” said Britton. “When we took this job last year people said that there wasn’t a whole lot of talent here and we’d struggle to win some game but these kids are the hardest workers I’ve ever seen, they’re playing great basketball and they’re reaping the benefits.”
Both teams have one more game before starting tournaments, Eastern travels to Southern on Friday, and Meigs travels to Nelsonville-York on Friday.
“What keeps us going is that we know its going to be low scoring, and we’re going to be right in the game” added Kight. “There’s no panic in us, we just gotta learn to finish. When little things don’t happen or we can’t get that 6-or-8 point run we need to grind it out, Saturday we were able to and tonight we weren’t.”
The Eagles have had Meigs’ number over the last few years, defeating the Marauders in five consecutive times. The last time MHS topped Eastern was January 29th 2008.