POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Eagles simply hit the boards and got back in the win column.
The Eastern boys basketball team outrebounded non-conference host Point Pleasant by 21 on Tuesday night in ‘The Dungeon’, as EHS snapped its three-game skid with a 53-45 victory.
Eastern (4-7) led initially, but the Big Blacks (1-10) — who’ve now dropped eight straight decisions — claimed a lead at 5-4 with 4:37 left in the opening quarter. EHS regained the advantage, at 8-7, with 2:44 to go in the first, but Point Pleasant ended the quarter with a 6-to-4 run and a 13-12 lead.
The Big Blacks were held off the scoreboard for the first four minutes of the second quarter, as the guests surged to a 17-13 lead with four minutes left in the first half. PPHS tied the game on a three-pointer with two minutes to go in the period, but Eastern closed the half with a 5-0 run and a 26-21 lead.
In the third period, the Eagles pushed their advantage to as high as 13, at 38-25, but Point Pleasant scored five unanswered to end the stanza.
The Big Blacks began the finale with a 10-to-4 run, trimming the EHS lead to 42-40 with 4:25 left in regulation. However, the hosts were held off the board for the next three minutes, as Eastern stretched the lead to 46-40. The Eagles capped off the 53-45 victory with a 7-5 run over the final 1:25.
“We put one together tonight,” EHS head coach Jeremy Hill said. “We had spurts where we were a very nice ball club, and then we had our little attacks that we go through every now and again. It was a group effort and I think the kids played hard. We made some mistakes, but a win is a win and hopefully it gives us a little jump start moving forward.”
The Eagles hit 20-of-42 (47.6 percent) field goal attempts in the win, while missing all-4 of their three-point tries. Meanwhile, Point Pleasant shot 13-of-43 (30.2 percent) from the field, including 8-of-31 (25.8 percent) from three-point range. From the free throw line, EHS shot 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) and PPHS shot 11-of-17 (64.7 percent).
“I thought we did a great job of pressuring in the beginning, but it kind of waned there in the end,” PPHS head coach Josh Williams said. “We didn’t have some of the high-energy guys available that we’d like to have in there at the end, but you have to roll with what you’ve got and you can’t make any excuses. We certainly had guys in there that could get the job done, we just couldn’t finish.”
Eastern outrebounded Point Pleasant by a 37-to-16 count, including 14-to-5 on the offensive glass. PPHS claimed advantages of 11-to-9 in assists and 6-to-4 in steals, while recording the game’s only two blocked shots. The Eagles gave the ball away 12 times, while the Big Blacks had eight turnovers.
“We have to get deeper in our bench and tonight we were able to do that,” Coach Hill said. “The last couple of games we’ve been able to go a little bit deeper. For us to be able to compete and win more games, we have to have more guys step up, other than just the starting five.”
EHS junior Isaiah Fish led the victors with 16 points, followed by Garrett Barringer with 12. Kaleb Hill posted 11 points to go with a game-high 15 rebounds, while Blaise Facemyer scored five points. Colton Reynolds contributed four points to the Eagle cause, Sharp Facemyer added three, while Mason Dishong chipped in with two.
Reynolds, Kaleb Hill, Blaise Facemyer and Sharp Facemyer each had two assists and one steal in the win.
“Rebounding was an issue all game long,” Coach Williams said. “We gave up way too many second chance points. We got them to take some of the shots we wanted them to, but they were able to secure rebounds on the back side and get it back in. They’re post players were good at finishing and they gave the effort to hit the boards, and it cost us tonight.”
PPHS was led by Camron Long and Kyle Martin with nine points apiece, followed by Braxton Yates with six. Hunter Bush had five points, Kade Oliver recorded four points and a team-best five rebounds, while Evan Cobb and Blake Diddle both had three points in the setback. Aiden Sang, Casey Lowery and Trace Derenberger each recorded two markers for the Big Blacks.
Martin, Long, Yates and Malik Butler each had two assists for the hosts. Martin and Sang led the PPHS defense with two steals apiece, while Derenberger and Oliver both rejected a shot.
“They’re a young group like we are,” Coach Hill said of PPHS. “They made the same kind of mistakes that we made, but in the end we made fewer mistakes, made more shots and came out of here with a win. We have Belpre tomorrow night and hopefully we learned some things we can use against them, so we’ll see what happens.”
After visiting Belpre on Wednesday, Eastern will return home to face Waterford on Friday.
The Big Blacks will visit Lincoln County on Wednesday and then will return to action on Tuesday at Meigs.
“We go to Lincoln tomorrow, they’re deep and they like to pressure,” said Coach Williams. “It’s always been a tough place for us to play. Then we get some time off to prepare before we go to Meigs. Regardless of their record, they live and die by what they do and if you don’t execute against it, it can give you some problems.”
This is the only scheduled meeting between PPHS and EHS this season.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.