TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Perhaps a sign of things to come.
The Eastern girls basketball team played evenly with Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division leader Waterford for eight minutes Monday night at ‘The Nest’, but the 2015 Division IV state runner-up proved to be too much as the Lady Wildcats claimed a 48-30 decision.
The two teams that have combined to win the last 11 league titles were tied at 14 through eight minutes of play, with Eastern (6-3, 5-2 TVC Hocking) junior Laura Pullins and Waterford (7-0, 7-0) senior Dani Drayer each scoring eight points to lead the way in the opening quarter.
The Lady Wildcats showed their depth in the second period, as six different players scored to allow the guests to take a 31-23 halftime lead. The Lady Eagles were held to just four points in the third quarter and three in the fourth, while Waterford scored 17 in the second half and won by a 48-30 final.
Laura Pullins paced the hosts with 11 points, followed by Madison Williams with six and Rebecca Pullins with five. Alyson Bailey marked four points, Jess Parker added three, while Kelsey Casto rounded out the EHS total with one point. Eastern hit 3-of-5 (60 percent) free throw attempts, while Parker, Laura Pullins and Rebecca Pullins each sank a trifecta.
Drayer led Waterford with 16 points, followed by Alli Kern with 11. Jillian McCutcheon and Regan Porter each had six points, Megan Ball added five, while Hannah Duff and Erin Roush each scored two points. WHS made 10-of-11 (90.9 percent) free throw tries, while McCutcheon and Drayer each made two three-pointers.
The Lady Wildcats have now won 27 consecutive TVC Hocking games with their last league loss coming to Eastern, by a 75-44 count on February 5, 2014 at Waterford’s Harry Cooper Annex. WHS came into the game averaging 68.2 points per game, while only allowing 29. Monday night was the first time this season that the Lady Cats have been held under 50 points.
Eastern — which played one junior, two sophomores and four freshmen in the game — will look for revenge on February 1, when the Lady Eagles soar to Waterford. EHS had won three straight games prior to Monday night.
The Lady Eagles return to the court for their 2015 finale on Wednesday, when Ironton St. Joseph visits EHS.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.