TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — In a battle for the birds, one group clearly flocked together.
The Eastern boys basketball team shot 60 percent from the field and had three players reach double figures Friday night during a resounding 66-47 victory over visiting Wahama in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup at the Eagle’s Nest in Meigs County.
The Eagles (3-2, 3-1 TVC Hocking) found themselves in an 11-4 hole six minutes into regulation, but the hosts countered with a 23-10 surge over the final 10 minutes of the first half — allowing the Green and White to turn an 11-8 first period deficit into a 27-21 advantage at the break.
The White Falcons (1-2, 1-2) lost their early cushion after a Corbett Catlett basket at the 7:01 mark gave EHS its first lead at 12-11, but the Red and White rallied back to tie things up at 13-all following a Randy Lantz trifecta with 5:59 remaining in the half.
Jett Facemyer gave the Eagles a permanent lead 15 seconds later after converting a layup, which sparked a 14-5 charge over the next five minutes en route to a 27-18 edge with 34 seconds left.
Travis Kearns, however, canned a trifecta with 20 seconds remaining, allowing WHS to close to within two possessions at the intermission.
The White Falcons twice closed to within four points in the third stanza, the last of which occurred at 29-25 following a basket by Lantz with 5:18 remaining.
The hosts followed with six straight points from Jett Facemyer as part of an 11-0 surge over the next three-plus minutes, giving Eastern a commanding 40-25 lead with 1:51 left.
Wahama snapped a 4:50 scoreless drought as Mason Hildreth converted a basket with 1:27 left, sparking a small 4-2 run to end the third period with a 42-29 contest.
WHS was never closer than 11 points (42-31) down the stretch and Eastern led by as many as 20 points on three separate occasions in the fourth quarter, the last of which came at 58-38 following a pair of free throws by Sharp Facemyer with 2:44 left.
The White Falcons closed regulation with a small 9-8 run to wrap up the 19-point outcome.
The Eagles showed great patience offensively, netting 27-of-45 field goal attempts overall — including a 2-of-4 effort from behind the arc.
Wahama, conversely, was 19-of-39 from the floor for 39 percent, including a 4-of-7 effort from three-point range for 57 percent.
Following his team’s second straight win and third victory in four contests, EHS coach Jeremy Hill was pleased with just about every aspect of the Eagles first home win of the year — especially the one part that they have spent so much time on recently.
“After the Fed Hock game, we realized that our defense wasn’t very good. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into our defense this week in practice, and I think it showed tonight,” Hill said. “These kids have always played hard, but there is a difference between playing hard and playing with intensity. Tonight, we played with intensity and we played together as a team — and I think everybody enjoyed what we did on the court tonight.
“It’s a good win for us and we seem to have some momentum going forward. I’m very proud of the effort from our guys tonight.”
WHS coach Ron Bradley was equally impressed with Eastern’s overall showing, which was more than he could admit about his own troops afterwards.
“I didn’t like the demeanor of our kids before the game. I could see it in their faces and in their actions that they weren’t mentally ready to play,” Bradley said. “Eastern just came out and flat handed it to us. They were ready to play and they were hungry, so give them all of the credit for that. The team that wanted the win tonight got it.
“This was about desire and want to … and we didn’t want to tonight. We are not a good enough basketball team to just show up to a game and win. We definitely have some things to work on over the next few weeks.”
Jett Facemyer led Eastern with a game-high 31 points, which included the first six EHS points to go along with 21 second half markers. Garrett Bumgarner was next with 11 points, while Catlett chipped in 10 points and Jon Wolfe added nine.
Sharp Facemyer and Owen Arix rounded out the winning tally with respective efforts of three and two points. The hosts were 10-of-13 at the free throw line for 77 percent.
Lantz paced WHS with 10 points, followed by Kearns and Philip Hoffman with nine markers apiece. Jacob Lloyd also added eight markers, including half of the team’s four trifectas.
Hildreth was next with seven points and Noah Litchfield rounded things out with four points. The guests were 5-of-13 at the charity stripe for 38 percent.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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