TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — There’s nothing quite like a comeback win at home.
The Eastern boys basketball trailed Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre by a 12 points midway through the third quarter, but the host Eagles rallied back to take a 48-47 victory, on Friday at ‘The Nest’.
The first quarter featured five ties and four lead changes, with Belpre (5-13, 5-7 TVC Hocking) — which has now lost four straight decisions — leading 15-to-11 at the conclusion of the stanza.
Eastern (6-10, 6-6) — which has won three straight league games — committed nine turnovers in the second quarter, allowing the Golden Eagles to extend their lead to eight points, at 27-19, by halftime.
Belpre began the second half with a 6-2 run, pushing its advantage to a game-high 12 points, at 33-21, with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Eastern scored the next seven points, trimming its deficit to five points, at 33-28, with two minutes remaining in the third. BHS outscored the Eagles 3-to-1 over the final two minutes of the stanza, giving the Golden Eagles a 36-29 lead with eight minutes to play.
EHS fought to within one point in the first 1:30 of the fourth quarter, but Belpre extended the advantage to six points, at 43-37, with 3:30 left in the game.
The hosts tied the game at 43, with 2:50 remaining, but Belpre sank a free throw 30 seconds later to reestablish the advantage.
An EHS two-pointer at the 2:07 mark, gave the Eagles their first lead since the first period, at 45-44. Eastern went 2-for-2 from the line with 48 seconds left, pushing the advantage to 47-44.
A clutch free throw with one second left extended the lead to four points, but EHS missed the second free throw try. Belpre rebounded and Bailey Sprague made a three-quarter-court trifecta, making the final score 48-47 in favor of the hosts.
“We didn’t execute well in the first half and we got on them a little bit at halftime,” EHS head coach Jeremy Hill said. “Execution in the second half was way better than in the first half. One of our biggest disappointments was the turnovers in the first half. If there is anything else I can be disappointed with, it was maybe the free throw line. Other than that, it was a great effort, the kids played hard and they battled through adversity. It’s good to get the win. It’s our sixth win, which isn’t very many, but with the tournament draw coming up, it’s a big win.”
Eastern won the rebounding battle by a 34-to-19 count, including 11-to-8 on the offensive glass. EHS also held a 12-to-10 assists edge, while Belpre claimed a 9-to-3 advantage in steals and a 2-to-1 edge in blocked shots. Eastern committed 15 turnovers in the win, while BHS gave the ball away 11 times.
For the game, Eastern was 20-of-43 (46.5 percent) from the field, including 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) from three-point range. The guests shot 16-of-48 (33.3 percent) from the field, including 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc. From the free throw line, Eastern was 7-of-14 (50 percent) and Belpre was 9-of-13 (69.2 percent).
EHS senior Jett Facemyer led all scorers with 27 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter. Kaleb Hill and Garrett Barringer both scored six points for the Green, White and Gold, Jeremiah Martindale chipped in with four points and five assists, while Sharp Facemyer added three points and four assists. Corbett Catlett marked two points and a game-best 11 rebounds for Eastern.
Catlett, Hill and Sharp Facemyer each had a steal for the Eagle defense, while Martindale blocked a shot.
Sprague led Belpre with 12 points, followed by Logan Adams with nine and Deijon Bedgood with eight. Brandon Simoniette scored six points for the Orange and Black, while Mythius Houghton added five points and team-highs of five rebounds and four assists. The Golden Eagle scoring was rounded out by Ryan Simoniette with four points and Nate Godfrey with three.
Adams led the Belpre defense with four steals, while Sprague and Ryan Simoniette each blocked a shot.
The season series between these teams is now even at one game apiece, as BHS defeated Eastern on December 20, by a 74-58 count, in Belpre.
After a non-conference trip to Green on Saturday, the Green, White and Gold will resume TVC Hocking play on Tuesday, when South Gallia visits ‘The Nest.
Belpre returns home next, as the Golden Eagles host Trimble, on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.