TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The cold spell came at the worst possible time.
The Eastern girls basketball team led by three points headed into the fourth quarter of Monday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division game at ‘The Nest’, but guest Belpre went on a 16-to-8 run over the final eight minutes for a 40-35 victory.
Eastern (2-5, 1-3 TVC Hocking) — coming off of a 55-8 win at Bellaire St. John Central — took its first lead of Monday’s game at 4-2, and led 8-4 by the end of the first quarter.
A 9-to-2 run to start the second quarter gave EHS its largest lead of the night, at 17-6. Belpre (2-3, 2-3) closed the half with a 9-to-3 spurt, however, trimming the hosts’ lead to 20-15 at halftime.
The visiting Lady Eagles trimmed two off of their deficit in the third, outscoring Eastern 9-to-7 to make the EHS lead 27-24 with eight minutes to play.
Belpre scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and never trailed again. The Green and White — who were 3-of-14 from the field and committed eight turnovers over the final eight minutes — tied the game at 29, 31 and 33, but surrendered seven of the final nine points and fell by a 40-35 count.
Eastern outrebounded its guest by a 42-to-38 count, including 13-to-7 on the offensive end. EHS had 19 turnovers, one more than Belpre, and finished with team totals of 12 steals, six assists and four blocked shots, while BHS ended with 10 steals, seven assists and six rejections.
The Green and White shot 12-of-54 (22.2 percent) from the field, including 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) from three-point range, while the Orange and Black made 14-of-50 (28 percent) field goal attempts, including 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) three-point tries. At the foul line, Eastern was 10-of-15 (66.7 percent), and Belpre was 11-of-18 (61.1 percent).
Jaymie Basham and Sydney Reynolds led Eastern with eight points apiece, followed by Olivia Barber with seven. Jennifer Parker recorded five points in the setback, Erica Durst, Kennadi Rockhold and Juli Durst had two points apiece, while Whitney Durst scored one.
The EHS rebounding effort was led by led by Erica Durst with nine, followed by Basham with eight, as well as Barber and Reynolds with seven apiece. Erica Durst and Juli Durst had two assists each for Eastern, while the team’s defense was led by Rockhold with four steals. Erica Durst ended with two steals and a block, while Reynolds and Barber both claimed one steal and one block.
Kyna Waderker led Belpre with 11 points, followed by Kyanna Ray with nine points and seven boards. Curstin Giffin, Kaitlin Bush and Halee Williams had six points each for BHS, with Giffin grabbing a team-best nine rebounds. Abbey LaFatch rounded out the BHS offense with two points and three assists, to go with four steals and a rejection to lead the team’s defense.
The Lady Eagles of the TVC Hocking will clash again on Jan. 25 at Belpre.
Next for Eastern, a trip to Federal Hocking on Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.