TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — You could argue that Eastern gave one away.
Then again, you could also say that the Lady ‘Cats simply took what seems to belong to them.
The Eastern girls basketball team committed a season-high 29 turnovers, which greatly aided visiting Waterford Thursday night during a 50-44 decision in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup at the Eagles’ Nest in Meigs County.
The Lady Eagles (9-3, 8-2 TVC Hocking) shot a better overall percentage from the field and also claimed a sizable 30-15 edge in total rebounds, but led only 1:55 of the entire contest — due in large part to 26 giveaways through three quarters of play.
The hosts had as many turnovers (26) as points headed into the finale, but still only trailed the Lady ‘Cats (11-2, 10-0) by a 34-26 margin entering the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, however, WHS sank 10-of-17 free throws and never allowed Eastern to knot things up — which ultimately enabled the guests to claim two-possession decision and a full two-game lead in the league standings. Waterford, which shared last season’s TVC Hocking crown with EHS, is now on pace for its eighth straight league championship.
As if taking a two-game lead with six league contests to go wasn’t enough for the Lady ‘Cats, senior Emily Brown also became the latest Waterford hoopster to reach the 1,000-point milestone for a career — doing so on a free throw with 6:20 left in regulation for a WHS 37-33 lead.
After Brown sank her second attempt for a five-point lead, the hosts countered with a 6-2 run over the next 1:31 to pull within 40-39 with 4:49 remaining. WHS responded with seven straight points for an eight-point cushion (47-39) with 1:44 left, and Eastern never came closer than three points (47-44) from there.
Waterford scored the final three points in the last 22 seconds of regulation, which allowed the guests to claim the six-point decision. The Lady ‘Cats also defeated EHS at home by a 55-44 margin back on Dec. 8.
There were three ties and six lead changes in the opening period, which included ties at two, four and five-all. Eastern claimed its first lead (5-4) with 5:31 left in the canto and went up again at 7-6 with just 36 seconds left, but WHS hit a basket with 17 ticks left to take a small 8-7 edge after eight minutes.
Waterford opened the second period with a 6-0 spurt for a 14-7 lead with 4:27 remaining, but EHS closed the half on a 9-4 run to pull within 18-16 at the intermission.
Eastern — which had 10 first quarter turnovers and 17 miscues by half — connected on 7-of-23 field goal attempts in the first half, while the guests committed eight turnovers and made on 5-of-27 shot attempts. Both teams were also a combined 1-of-14 from three-point range in the first half.
The hosts opened the second half with a 5-3 run to knot things up at 21 with 5:52 left, but Waterford responded with a 12-2 charge to take its biggest lead of the night at 33-23 with 2:30 remaining in the third. The Lady Eagles closed the canto with a small 3-2 spurt to pull within 34-26 entering the fourth.
Eastern connected on 17-of-44 field goal attempts for 39 percent, including a 4-of-18 effort from three-point range for 22 percent. The hosts were also 6-of-8 at the free throw line for 75 percent.
Jenna Burdette led EHS with 13 points, followed by Jordan Parker with 10 points and Savannah Hawley with nine markers. Maddie Rigsby added seven points, while Brenna Holter and Katie Keller respectively rounded out the scoring with four points and one point.
Waterford — which committed 15 turnovers — made 14-of-57 field goal attempts for 25 percent, including 1-of-10 from three-point range for 10 percent. The guests were also 21-of-32 at the charity stripe for 66 percent.
Brooke Drayer paced WHS with a game-high 19 points, followed by Emily Brown with 18 markers. Kaitlin Pottmeyer and Janelle Pugh both added four points apiece to the winning cause, while Hannah Offenberger and Chelsey Paxton each contributed two markers. Hannah Brown rounded out the scoring with one point.
Eastern hosts South Point on Saturday and returns to TVC Hocking action Monday when it travels to South Point. Waterford travels to Federal Hocking Monday for a TVC Hocking contest.
Waterford 50, Eastern 44
W 8-10-16-16 — 50
E7-9-10-18 — 44
WATERFORD (11-2, 10-0 TVC Hocking): Hannah Offenberger 1 0-0 2, Olivia Sprague 0 0-0 0, Chelsey Paxton 1 0-1 2, Brooke Drayer 8 2-2 19, Hannah Brown 0 1-1 1, Emily Brown 2 13-22 18, Taylor Hilverding 0 0-0 0, Kaitlin Pottmeyer 1 2-4 4, Janelle Pugh 1 2-2 4. TOTALS: 14 21-32 50. Three-point goals: 1 (Drayer). Field Goals: 14-57 (.246). Rebounds: 15 (E. Brown 7). Turnovers: 15.
EASTERN (9-3, 8-2 TVC Hocking): Brenna Holter 2 0-0 4, Savannah Hawley 3 0-0 9, Jordan Parker 4 1-1 10, Gabby Hendrix 0 0-0 0, Jenna Burdette 5 3-4 13, Katie Keller 0 1-2 1, Hayley Gillian 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Myers 0 0-0 0, Maddie Rigsby 3 1-1 7, Erin Swatzel 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 6-8 44. Three-point goals: 4 (Hawley 3, Parker). Field Goals: 17-44 (.386). Rebounds: 30 (Parker 7). Turnovers: 29.