TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — A rough night for the visiting team.
Laura Pullins scored a game-high 24 points while leading the Eastern girls basketball team to a 47-32 victory over visiting South Gallia in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup on Thursday night in Meigs County.
The Lady Eagles (2-1, 2-1 TVC Hocking) used their size advantage early on, and the Lady Rebels (0-4, 0-2) struggled to come up with an answer.
The home team started off the contest on a 5-0 run from Laura Pullins. Ashley Northup netted South Gallia its first points of the game with a shot from three-point range at 5:25 mark in the first quarter. Madison Williams hit a shot from beyond the arc with 5:02 left in the quarter.
Pullins took control of the Eastern offense, scoring on 10-of-11 of the Lady Eagles’ possessions. Olivia Hornsby connected with a last second lay-up for the Red and Gold, but Eastern lead 18-9 after the first period.
South Gallia’s shooting continued to struggle in the second quarter. The visitors missed on all 10 scoring opportunities in the period. Pullins helped the Green and Gold pull away with a three at the 6:31 mark, while Elizabeth Collins connected with a bucket with 4:18 left in the half. Williams hit two free throws to give Eastern a 25-9 lead at the break.
While both teams had the same number of rebounds in the first half, the Lady Eagles had the 13-6 rebound advantage over the Lady Rebels. The Green and Gold were also successful at the free throw line, going 5-of-7 from the charity stripe in the first half of play.
After an Eastern bucket early in the third quarter, Mikayla Poling brought the South Gallia offense back to life with a lay-up at the 6:06 mark. The Lady Rebels continued to gain confidence by going on a 7-0 run late in the third period. Pullins and Kelsey Casto’s back-to-back scores gave the Lady Eagles a 36-21 lead heading into the final quarter.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the fourth period. After an Eastern basket, Erin Evans hit the first of two threes in the quarter at the 6:29 mark. Rebecca Pullins added a three of her own for Eastern with 4:33 left in the game. Poling’s five points in the quarter — all of which were free throws — weren’t enough to get the Lady Rebels back in the contest.
The Lady Eagles shot 19-of-53 from the field (36 percent) — while also going 8-for-11 from the foul line. The Lady Rebels finished the game shooting 10-of-40 field goals (25 percent) and 5-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Following Laura Pullins in the Eastern scoring column, Williams finished with eight points and Collins had six points. Rebecca Pullins had three points, while Casto, Maddy Kuhn and Alyson Bailey each contributed two points for the Lady Eagles.
“They came out playing better than we have been,” Eastern coach John Burdette said. “During the second half, we resorted back to what we were doing. You get more tired and you don’t do the right things. We gotta keep working and getting better.”
Evans led the Lady Rebels with 12 points, followed by Poling with nine points. Northup had seven points, while Hornsby finished with four points for the Red and Gold.
“In the second half, we started taking care of the ball and taking good shots,” South Gallia coach Corey Small said. “At halftime, I told them that a bad shot leads to an easy lay-up for them. We picked up the defense in the second half and played better defense.”
Both squads will meet again on Jan. 21 in Mercerville and return to action Monday. Eastern heads on the road to face Belpre, while South Gallia hosts Symmes Valley. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.
Donald Lambert can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106