Bearcats claw past Eastern, 76-60

By Bryan Walters - [email protected]

BAINBRIDGE, Ohio — A model of consistency that just didn’t work.

The Eastern boys basketball strung together a pair of identical 30-point halves, but host Paint Valley countered with a pair of 38-point halves on Friday night during a 76-60 victory in a Division IV Southeast 2 sectional semifinal matchup in Ross County.

The 22nd seeded Eagles (2-20) managed to keep pace with the 11th seeded Bearcats in the first and third frames, as each program netted 16 points apiece midway through each half.

The guests, however, ran into trouble on the back end of each half as PVHS used a pair of 22-14 runs to end up closing out the eventual 16-point outcome. The Black and Gold also led 38-30 at the half and 54-46 headed into the finale.

EHS made 25 total field goals — including seven trifectas — and went 3-of-4 at the free throw line for 75 percent.

Jace Bullington paced Eastern with 17 points, followed by Connor Nolan with 15 points. Isaiah Reed and Trey Hill were next with eight markers apiece.

Gavin Murphy chipped in four points, while Ethan Short and Rylee Barrett added three points each. Brayden O’Brien completed the tally with two points.

The Bearcats made 32 total field goals — including two 3-pointers — and sank 10-of-17 charity tosses for 59 percent.

Dax Estep led Paint Valley with a game-high 25 points, followed by Cordell Grubb with 20 points and Blaine Parker with 11 markers.

PVHS advances to the sectional final and will travel to sixth seeded Leesburg Fairfield for a tipoff at 7 p.m. Friday night.

© 2022 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Bryan Walters

[email protected]

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.