TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The Lady Eagles tied the game, and then the Lady Titans flipped a switch.
The Eastern girls basketball team shook off an early deficit to tie the game at 19 with 1:45 left in the first half of Saturday’s non-conference showdown with guest Portsmouth Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, the Lady Titans scored 19 of the next 20 and never looked back on their way to a 56-33 triumph.
Eastern (5-3) — still looking for its first non-league win of the campaign — led for the first and only time in the game, at 3-2, after a Jess Parker three-pointer with 6:12 left in the opening quarter.
Notre Dame (9-0) scored the next eight points, holding the Lady Eagles scoreless for over 3:30. The hosts tied the game at 10 with 52 seconds left in the stanza, but a Taylor Schmidt three-pointer gave NDHS a 13-10 lead at the conclusion of the first.
The Lady Titans began the second quarter with back-to-back buckets, stretching their lead back to seven points with 7:37 left in the half. NDHS, however, was held off the board for over five minutes, as Eastern tied the game with 17 after a triple by Parker, a two-pointer by Alyson Bailey and a pair of free throws by Parker.
NDHS ended the cold spell with a two-pointer at the 2:15 mark, but Bailey answered with a two-pointer of her own to tie the game at 19. However, Eastern didn’t make another field goal until 5:04 mark of the third quarter, as NDHS closed the first half with an 8-to-1 run for the 27-20 lead.
The guests claimed the first 11 points of the second half and led 38-20 with 5:14 left in the third. EHS sophomore Olivia Barber ended the Lady Eagles cold spell with a two-pointer, but it was the Lady Eagles’ only field goal of the quarter. Notre Dame closed the third with a 7-2 run and headed into the fourth with a 45-24 advantage.
The Lady Titans led by as many as 26 points, at 55-29, in the fourth quarter, and settled for the 56-33 win.
In the setback, the Lady Eagles connected on 12-of-36 (33.3 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-10 (20 percent) from beyond the arc after coming up empty on all-7 three-point attempts in the second half. Meanwhile, Notre Dame was 21-of-54 (38.9 percent) from the field, including 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Lady Titans won the rebounding battle by a 43-to-21 count, including 15-to-11 on the offensive end. Eastern committed 26 turnovers — eight more than NDHS — while marking nine assists, seven steals and a blocked shot. The guests combined for 12 steals, 10 assists and a half-dozen rejections.
Parker led the Lady Eagles with 12 points, half of which came from beyond the arc. Bailey tallied 10 points on five field goals, while dishing out two assists. Barber scored six points and grabbed a team-best six boards, Kennadi Rockhold added three points and a pair of assists, while Ashton Guthrie came up with two markers.
Kelsey Casto paced the EHS defense with three steals, followed by Kennadi Rockhold with a steal and a block.
NDHS senior Katie Dettwiller led the victors with game-highs of 26 points, 13 rebounds and six rejections. The Saint Francis University commit combined 10 field goals, with a 6-of-7 performance form the charity stripe.
Schmidt scored 12 points the Blue and Gold, half of which came from beyond the arc. Ava Hassel finished with nine points, to go with team-highs of seven assists and four steals. Clara Hash tallied three points, while Lauren Campbell, Cassidy Isabel and Olivia Smith rounded out the winning total with two points apiece.
The Lady Eagles return to action on Friday at Waterford, where one team will leave in sole possession of first place in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division.
The 23-point margin of victory is Notre Dame’s second-smallest of the season, to a 22-point win over Portsmouth. The 33 points scored by Eastern is the second-most NDHS has allowed this winter.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.