MASON, W.Va. — Eagles equal efficiency.
The Eastern boys basketball shot over 54 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers en route to a 53-36 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Wahama, on Friday night on Gary Clark Court.
The Eagles (5-9, 5-6 TVC Hocking) never trailed in the game, storming out to a 13-3 lead, 5:30 into play. Wahama (7-9, 5-6) scored the final eight points of the first period and tied the game at 13 within the opening 30 seconds of the second stanza.
Eastern answered with four straight points, but the White Falcons cut the deficit to two points, at 17-15 and again at 19-17. The Eagles finished the half with a a 9-to-3 run, giving the guests a 28-20 advantage at the break.
Wahama scored the opening bucket of the second half, cutting its deficit to six points, at 28-22, with 7:43 left in the third. Eastern then held possession — without a single shot attempt — for nearly five minutes, before finally calling a timeout with 2:56 left in the period.
After the timeout, the Eagles scored six straight points, extending their lead to 34-22 with two minutes left in the third.
“I thought maybe they’d get a little relaxed and maybe get on their heels a little bit, but to their credit they didn’t,” Wahama head coach Ron Bradley said. “It was a six-point ball game and I thought if we could get to the fourth quarter with a six-point game, then we’ve got a chance.”
Wahama ended the third period with a 6-to-2 run, cutting the deficit to eight points, at 36-28, headed into the fourth quarter.
The White Falcons gave it a go in the fourth quarter, putting up baker’s dozen shots including seven trifectas. However, WHS — which was 6-of-6 from the line in the finale — made just one of the 13 field goal tries, and came up empty from deep.
Meanwhile, Eastern went 5-of-7 from the field in the fourth, and sank 7-of-8 free throws.
Wahama never came closer than eight points in the final quarter, as Eastern sealed the 53-36 victory.
“No one has ever faulted these kids for effort, we gave 100 percent effort here tonight,” Eastern head coach Jeremy Hill said. “I think we caught Wahama. They had a game last night and maybe their legs aren’t as fresh, because I know they’re a better ball club than that.”
The Eagles have now won back-to-back games, after a ending a seven-game skid with a victory over Federal Hocking, on Tuesday.
Eastern also defeated Wahama on December 16, by a 66-47, in Tuppers Plains.
“There aren’t too many teams, since I’ve been coaching Eastern, that we’ve swept the series with,” said Coach Hill. “As much as it is a rivalry in the heat of competition, these kids are friends. My hat’s off to Wahama, I have a lot of respect for Coach Bradley. I think he does a very nice job and runs a good program. Tonight we were just fortunate to come over here and get a win. This is a tough place to win.”
Wahama has now dropped back-to-back games and five of its last six.
“I told them, ‘you just have to keep your heads up and keep plugging away’,” Coach Bradley said. “You have to work hard everyday and go out and play hard every day. You find out what kind of character you have when things like this happen. We’re not going to quit working, we’re going to keep after it and get ready for the next game. That’s all you can do.”
For the game, Eastern outrebounded the White Falcons by a 22-to-19 count, with both teams pulling in five offensive boards. EHS also won the turnover battle by a 16-to-9 count, including 11-to-4 in the first half. EHS held a 9-to-3 advantage in steals, while Wahama claimed a 7-to-6 assists advantage and recorded the game’s only two blocked shots.
The Eagles connected on 20-of-37 (54.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) three-point tries. Meanwhile, Wahama was 11-of-34 (32.4 percent) from the field, including 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from deep. Both teams sank 11 free throws, WHS in 14 attempts and EHS in 16 tries.
EHS senior Jett Facemyer led all scorers with 32 points, on 13 two-pointers and six free throws. Sharp Facemyer and Jeremiah Martindale both scored seven points for the guests, while Corbett Catlett marked three points, to go with team-highs of seven rebounds and two assists. Kaleb Hill and Garrett Barringer rounded out the Eastern offense with two points apiece.
Jett Facemyer also led the Eagle defense, coming up with a game-high five steals.
WHS junior Noah Litchfield led the hosts with 10 points, followed by Mason Hildreth and Travis Kearns with seven points apiece. Jacob Lloyd scored five points for the Red and White, Philip Hoffman marked four points and team-highs of six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Randy Lantz rounded out the Wahama offense with three points.
After a non-conference clash with Nelsonville-York, on Saturday, Eastern will resume TVC Hocking play on Friday, when Belpre visits ‘The Nest’. Wahama is back in action on Tuesday, at Miller.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.