MERCERVILLE, Ohio — An entertaining battle to the very end.
It took double overtime to decide, but visiting Eastern used an 8-6 push in the second extra session to ultimately come away with a thrilling 64-62 victory over the South Gallia girls basketball team in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup Thursday night in Gallia County.
Both the Lady Rebels (10-11, 4-8 TVC Hocking) and the visiting Lady Eagles (6-14, 4-8) traded leads throughout the course of what ended up being five full quarters of play, and the biggest lead of the night for either squad was eight points.
Both teams were knotted up at 11-all through eight minutes of play, but the Green and White made a 12-7 push to secure their largest first half lead of 23-18 with under three minutes left.
SGHS, however, got a Jessie Rutt basket with five seconds left to cap a 6-0 surge that allowed the Red and Gold to take a slim 24-23 edge into the break.
The Lady Rebels maintained that momentum into the third period with a 9-2 charge out of the halftime gates, giving the hosts a 33-25 lead with 2:53 remaining. EHS countered with a 10-2 push over the final 2:31 of the frame to knot things up at 35-all.
An Erica Durst old-fashioned 3-pointer at the 2:06 mark of the fourth allowed the Lady Eagles to take a 41-37 lead, and that cushion was still 43-40 with under a minute to play in regulation. Macie Sanders banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 23 seconds left, tying things up at 43-all and forcing overtime.
EHS established a 51-45 lead following a Durst basket at the 2:26 mark of the first 4-minute session, but the Lady Rebels countered with a 9-3 push to again tie things up at 54-all with 17 seconds left.
Durst converted a layup on Eastern’s ensuing possession and held a 56-54 lead with only two seconds remaining.
Out of a timeout and needing to go the length of the floor, Rutt inbounded the ball to Tori Triplett at midcourt, who then immediately made another half-court pass down to a streaking Kennedey Lambert. Lambert quickly converted the uncontested right side layup for a 56-all contest while forcing a second overtime.
South Gallia led only 36 seconds of the final session, but that lead came at 62-61 after a Sanders basket with 59 seconds remaining.
Durst, however, converted two free throws with 23.1 seconds left for a permanent lead, then tacked on another charity toss with six seconds left for a 64-62 edge.
South Gallia managed to produce another decent shot attempt for the tie, but the ball rimmed out and fell to the floor as the buzzer sounded — giving EHS the 2-point triumph.
Eastern — which has won three straight decisions — also claimed a season sweep of South Gallia after posting a 52-42 win in Tuppers Plains back on Jan. 4.
The Lady Eagles made 22 total field goals — all 2-pointers — and also went 20-of-27 at the free throw line for 74 percent.
Erica Durst led EHS with a game-high 25 points, followed by Kennedi Rockhold with 22 points and Juli Durst with five markers. Jennifer Parker was next with four points, while Hope Reed and Ella Carlton respectively completed the winning mark with three and two points.
South Gallia netted 25 total field goals — including seven trifectas — and also went 5-of-14 at the charity stripe for 36 percent.
Sanders and Rutt paced the Lady Rebels with 21 points apiece, followed by Triplett with nine points and Ryleigh Halley with five markers. MaKayla Waugh was next with four points, while Lambert completed the scoring with two points.
South Gallia travels to Chesapeake on Monday for a non-conference contest at 7 p.m.
© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.