TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Bouncing back in style.
The Eastern boys basketball team snapped its two-game skid on Tuesday night at ‘The Nest’, making over half of their field goal attempts en route to a 64-43 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest South Gallia.
After the Eagles (2-2, 1-2 TVC Hocking) scored the opening bucket of the game, the Rebels (0-4, 0-2) claimed the next four points and their only lead of the contest with 5:39 left in the first quarter. Eastern scored the next nine points, however and wound up with a 15-7 advantage by the end of the stanza.
South Gallia began the second quarter with a 5-4 run, but was outscored by a 14-3 tally over the remainder of the period, as Eastern headed into the half with a 35-14 lead.
The Rebels had their best offensive period of the night in the third, outscoring EHS by a 17-15 clip over the eight minute span. Eastern capped off its 64-43 victory with a 15-to-12 run in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to come in here and establish the tone of the game, instead of somebody setting the tone on us, which is what we’ve done the last two games,” Eastern head coach Jeremy Hill said. “I think we did that and we executed a little bit better, but we still turned the ball over a little too much. Hat’s off to South Gallia. They didn’t quit and they still battled, causing us to make those turnovers. We have to take better care of the basketball.”
The hosts claimed a 30-to-23 advantage on the glass, despite SGHS earning a 10-8 edge in offensive rebounds. Both teams finished with 16 turnovers in the game, with the Eagles earning a 10-to-7 advantage in steals. Eastern also claimed a 16-to-9 assists advantage, while the Rebels held a 4-to-3 edge in blocked shots.
“They exploited our 1-3-1 and did a nice job going block-to-block,” South Gallia head coach Kent Wolfe said. “We have to limit our opponents possessions, and when you turn the ball over it gives them free looks, that’s the worst thing that can happen. It comes down to this, we have to defend better and we have to eliminate easy possessions for the opponent. For us to have a chance to win, we have to play a near perfect game.”
Collectively, the Eagles shot 26-of-46 (56.5 percent) from the field, including 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Rebels were 17-of-50 (34 percent) from the field, including 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from deep. From the free throw line, Eastern shot 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) and South Gallia was 5-of-9 (55.6 percent).
“We went up to Waterford the other night and shot 3-of-25 from the field in the first half, we were 0-for-9 from three-point range, and we got beat by 18,” Coach Hill said. “Tonight, our field goal percentage was a lot better, because we were shooting two-feet from the bucket. Our percentage is going to be higher than when we’re shooting 19-footers. We have to keep growing as a team and not take nights off. We’ll get back in here tomorrow night and get ready for Miller.”
EHS sophomore Garrett Barringer led the hosts with a double-double effort of 16 points and 10 rebounds, to go with a team-best four assists. Isaiah Fish scored 15 points and Sharp Facemyer added 12, with both players draining one three-pointer in the win.
Eagles senior Kaleb Hill contributed eight points and seven rebounds to the winning cause, Colton Reynolds added six points, while Blaise Facemyer had five points and four assists. Ryan Dill rounded out the EHS offense with two markers.
On defense, Barringer came up with a game-best three steals, while Hill had two steals and two rejections.
“We had a nice talk at halftime and I thought they came up and did some things better,” Wolfe said. “This program has been through some adversity, but we’ll work through it. We’ll have to have good practices tomorrow and Thursday to get ready for Wahama. We’ll try to get better, that’s all we can do. We’ll take baby steps and hopefully by February we’ll be a competitive team.”
The Rebels were led by Braxton Hardy with 18 points, including six from long range. Curtis Haner hit one trifecta on his way to 10 points,while Jared Burdette made one triple and finished with five points. Eli Ellis and Austin Stapleton posted four points apiece in the setback, while Austin Day scored two.
Day and Burdette tied for the team lead with five rebounds apiece. Ellis and Haner both assisted on two buckets, while also leading the Rebel defense with two steals and a rejection apiece.
These teams will do battle again on Jan. 30 in Mercerville.
Both teams continue league play on Friday when SGHS hosts Wahama, and EHS visits Miller.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.