NELSONVILLE, Ohio — They kept it close, but just couldn’t come back.
The Eastern girls basketball team dropped its season-opener to non-league host Nelsonville-York on Monday in Athens County, with the Lady Buckeyes taking a 40-35 victory after never leading by more than five.
The Lady Eagles (0-1) was behind by an 11-9 margin eight minutes into play, and Nelsonville-York (1-0) never trailed in any of the final three quarters.
The Lady Buckeyes outscored EHS 13-to-11 in the second period and went into halftime with a 24-20 edge.
Eastern fought back to within one point, at 27-26, but surrendered the final bucket of the third and went into the finale down 29-26.
The Lady Eagles trimmed their deficit back to one point, at 32-31 and 36-35, but couldn’t regain the edge and fell by a 40-35 final tally.
Eastern shot 15-of-38 (39.4 percent) from the field, including 2-of-8 (25 percent) from three-point range, while NYHS made 15-of-51 (29.4 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-13 (15.3 percent) from beyond the arc. EHS made 3-of-10 (30 percent) free throws, while the Lady Buckeyes were 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Green and White won the rebounding battle by a 34-to-31 clip, but committed 24 turnovers, nine more than Nelsonville-York. The guests combined for five assists, five steals and two rejections, while the Orange and Brown claimed 15 steals, eight assists and three blocked shots.
Olivia Barber led the Lady Eagles with 10 points and nine rebounds. Jaymie Basham had eight points for Eastern, Ashton Guthrie and Erica Durst added six apiece, while Sydney Reynolds scored three points and dished out a team-best two assists. Whitney Durst rounded out the EHS total with two points, while Barber and Kennadi Rockhold led the Lady Eagle defense with two steals apiece.
Mackenzie Hurd led Nelsonville-York with 16 points, followed by Joscelyn Heller with 12. Ashleigh Cantrell ended with five points, Haley Hurd added four points, while Cayleigh Dupler scored two. Grace Sinnott marked one point, and team-bests of 14 rebounds and three assists in the win. Mackenzie Hurd had a game-high seven steals, while Alivia Speelman blocked a pair of shots.
Next, Eastern will be on its home floor for the first time this season, hosting Trimble on Monday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.