TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — In the Eastern High School lobby on Sunday — just three days after posting a career-high 34 points in leading the Lady Eagles to a double overtime victory in the district final — Eastern senior Laura Pullins signed her letter of intent to join the Marietta College women’s basketball team, as well as the track and field team, next winter.
“I was really excited for today, because now I know that I’m continuing my two favorite sports into college,” said Pullins. “I love to play the games and I love to run so continuing in both of them at a Division III college feels really good.”
The Lady Eagle won’t be flying far from ‘The Nest’, as she heads just 36 miles away from Eastern High School to play for the Pioneers.
“We go to Marietta for shootouts all the time and the coach got a hold of me,” said Pullins on her decision to choose Marietta College. “I went for a visit and after the visit I was hooked.”
Pullins’ high school basketball career — which continued in the regional semifinal on Thursday night at Jackson High School —has certainly been a success.
She moved into second place on the Lady Eagles’ all-time scoring chart in the district final, finishing that game with a career total of 1,283 points.
As of the day she signed, Pullins had helped the Lady Eagles to an 84-18 record over her four seasons. She was named to the AP Southeast District first team as both a junior and a senior, while landing on second team as a sophomore and special mention as a freshman.
“I have gotten to watch Laura for four years and she’s a phenomenal athlete,” said EHS head coach Jacob Parker. “I’m very, very proud of her accomplishments. I think it means even more coming in and having a senior like that your first year of coaching. It sure does make the job a little easier, to say the least.”
As a senior, Pullins averaged a double-double, scoring a team-best 19 points per game, while hauling in 10 rebounds per game. Laura also dished out seven assists per game, while shooting 79 percent from the free throw line.
In her first three seasons at EHS, Pullins was named to the District 13 first team twice, and the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division first team twice. Pullins was an All-Ohio honorable mention as a sophomore and an All-Ohio special mention as a junior.
Pullins’ top accolade may have came in her freshman season, however, as she was the key member of the Lady Eagles’ state championship team, of which she is the fifth member to sign to play college basketball and the second to sign to a college track and field team.
In the state semifinal Pullins scored seven points in 21 minutes of action, while she contributed six points in 25 minutes in the 2014 Division IV state championship game.
“The sky is the limit,” Coach Parker said of Pullins’ future. “Laura has all the tools and the thing about her is, she has all the work ethic to go with it. There are a lot of kids that have the right tools, but they lack the work ethic. Because of her work ethic she can do anything that she wants.”
Even with Laura’s basketball accomplishments, the spring has never been a time to rest, with track and field in season. Pullins has been to state in each of her first three years of track and field, competing at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in four different events.
“For the last six years, from seventh grade through high school, she’s ran probably every event possible,” said EHS track and field, and cross country head coach Josh Fogle. “It’s exciting to see her move on, I always like when kids move on in track because it’s not one of the major sports.
“I think she’ll do really well,” Coach Fogle added. “You take the small program like we have, where there’s just one coach trying to coach hurdles, long jump, high jump, sprints, and distance. Now she’ll get specialized training and I look for her to do really well in college.”
As a freshman, Pullins was part of the Lady Eagles’ 4x800m and 4x400m relay teams, which finished fourth and seventh in the state respectively. Laura also claimed 10th in the high jump as a freshman, while she took 11th in the high jump as a junior at the state.
In her sophomore season at the state level, Pullins finished 16th in the 400m dash and was part of the 4x800m relay team that finished 13th.
Laura noted that she’ll likely focus on the 400m dash and high jump in college.
Pullins is the third Lady Eagle to appear in at the state tournament in three different sports, as she was also on the 2014 cross county team, which finished ninth at the state. In Pullins’ only state cross county appearance, she finished 70th overall with a time of 20:28.54.
Laura, who holds a 3.98 grade-point-average at EHS, is currently ranked second in the class of 2017. Pullins plans on a sports management major at Marietta College.
Marietta College is an NCAA Division III school that competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Pioneers — who call the Ban Johnson Arena home — were 16-11 with a 9-9 conference record this winter.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.