RACINE, Ohio — Once again, the Lady Eagles are the undisputed queens of the county.
The Eastern girls basketball team defeated Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Southern by a 71-39 count on the road Monday night, giving the Lady Eagles a perfect 3-0 record against other Meigs County teams this season.
Eastern (14-6, 12-3 TVC Hocking) buried eight field goals in the opening quarter and charged out to a 22-4 lead. The Lady Eagles led by as many as 28 point in the second period, and settled for a 36-10 halftime advantage.
Southern (6-15, 4-11) cut the margin as low as 25 in the third quarter, but Eastern’s lead grew to 34 points, at 50-16, by the end of the stanza.
The Lady Tornadoes made it as close as 25 again in the fourth, but the Lady Eagles closed out the 71-39 win with a 8-to-1 run.
“It was a very good win,” EHS head coach Jacob Parker said. “Come tournament time there are a few of these younger girls who are probably going to get their numbers called in certain situations, so it was nice to get them into a varsity setting. I was proud of them, it was the first time they came in and didn’t look like they were scared to death, they came out and just played basketball.
“Our offense started on the defensive end of the floor,” Coach Parker added. “If you can play good defense, create some havoc and create some turnovers, you can get some easy buckets that way. We did a very nice job of finding the next player, the open player, tonight. The other thing about our offense tonight was that we were aggressive going toward the basket. That’s something that’s been lacking of late, so it was nice to see that come back into our offense.”
For the game, Eastern shot 30-of-65 (46.2 percent) from the field, including 2-of-10 (20 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Southern was 11-of-51 (21.6 percent) from the field, including 3-of-6 (50 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Lady Eagles were 9-of-25 (36 percent) from the free throw line, where the Lady Tornadoes shot 14-of-33 (42.4 percent).
“We did some good things early, we just didn’t get a couple shots to fall,” SHS head coach David Kight said. “We had some good looking shots, they just didn’t go in and sometimes that happens. On the defensive end of the floor we kind of kept them in check, but it’s hard for any team at any level to overcome second chance points.
“I thought when they made their run to get a double-digit lead, they hurt us from the free throw line and they hurt us with second chance points,” added Kight. “Outside of that I thought they executed the game plan really well and got the shots that we wanted. It was just one of those nights where there was a lid on the rim and we couldn’t get it to go.”
The guests won the rebounding battle by a 43-26 count, including 18-to-12 on the offensive end. EHS also won the turnover battle by a 27-to-14 clip, picking up a 20-to-5 steals edge. Both teams rejected one shot in the contest.
EHS freshman Olivia Barber led all scorers with 14 points on seven field goals. Kelsey Casto and Elizabeth Collins had 10 points apiece, with Collins grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
Kennadi Rockhold hit one three-pointer and finished with nine points for the guests, Jess Parker added eight points to the winning total, while Madison Williams came up with six points and led the EHS defense with five steals.
Alyson Bailey contributed five points to the Lady Eagle cause, Kassie Casto chipped in with four, while Whitney Durst marked three points on a trifecta. Kaitlyn Hawk rounded out the Eastern total with two points, while Collins, Bailey and Williams each recorded three assists.
SHS sophomore Baylee Wolfe led the hosts with 13 points and seven rebounds. Jaiden Roberts scored eight points, Paige VanMeter added seven and Lauren Lavender marked five, with each making one three-pointer in the setback. Phoenix Cleland recorded four points for the Purple and Gold, while Bailee Floyd and Jordan Hardwick both scored one point.
Wolfe also led the SHS defense with two steals and one block.
The Lady Eagles wrap up their regular season at home on Thursday against Waterford, which has already clinched its fourth TVC Hocking championship.
“The girls are going to come in and work hard, and we’re going to get a game plan together,” Coach Parker said. “I’m almost positive that there aren’t two programs that know each other any better than what Waterford and knows us and we know Waterford. We’re going to come in and work hard, and come Thursday night we’ll see what we can do.”
The Purple and Gold are also back in action on Thursday when they visit Belpre.
“They’ve had a really good season, a really successful season,” Kight said of Belpre. “We played them really tough here and to the last 11 seconds, we were right there with them. They hit the shot they needed to. We have to play our game and we have to hit some shots early. If we can control the ball and handle there pressure, which we did in the first game, box out and not allow second chance points, which we did in the first game, then we should be alright there come Thursday night.”
EHS also defeated the Lady Tornadoes on earlier this winter, winning 49-21 on Jan. 4 at ‘The Nest’.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.