TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The small things ended up making a huge difference.
Visiting Belpre had more rebounds, committed fewer turnovers and made more free throws than the Eastern boys basketball team attempted Friday night, which ultimately resulted in a 61-53 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division victory at The Nest in Meigs County.
The host Eagles (3-5, 2-3 TVC Hocking) shot a higher percentage from the field, both overall and from behind the arc — but the Golden Eagles (5-4, 4-2) found little ways to counter those runs over the course of 32 minutes.
In fact, the Green and White led only twice in the entire contest — both times by a single point around the midway point of the second frame.
BHS, however, broke a 17-all tie on a Makiah Merritt basket with 3:55 left in the half … and the Orange and Black led the rest of the way.
Eastern — which trailed 21-20 at the break — netted 7-of-9 shot attempts during the third quarter, but Belpre hauled in as many offensive boards as the hosts had in the same frame. That discrepancy allowed the guests to make a 21-17 third quarter push that resulted in a 42-37 edge entering the finale.
A Colton Reynolds free throw with 4:15 left in regulation trimmed things down to 44-42, but the Eagles were never closer the rest of the way.
The Golden Eagles reeled off eight consecutive points while securing their largest lead of the night at 52-42. Garrett Barringer capped a 7-2 run with a basket with 50 seconds left that whittled the deficit down to 54-49.
BHS hit 7-of-10 free throws the rest of the way as part of a 7-4 spurt that wrapped up the 8-point outcome.
Belpre outrebounded the hosts by a 34-27 overall margin that included a 9-6 edge on the offensive glass. EHS committed 15 of the 29 turnovers in the game, including seven of the 11 miscues in the second half.
The Green and White netted 23-of-52 field goal attempts for 44 percent, including a 3-of-8 effort from behind the arc for 38 percent. The hosts — who also missed at least a half-dozen layups — were also a mere 4-of-10 at the free throw line for 40 percent.
Barringer and Reynolds paced EHS with 15 points apiece, followed by Ryan Dill with nine markers. Trevor Morrissey and Derrick Metheney were next with five points each, while Matthew Blanchard completed the scoring with four points.
Barringer and Blanchard led the Eagles with five rebounds apiece. Morrissey and Dill also hauled in four caroms each.
Belpre made 21-of-51 shot attempts for 41 percent, including a 6-of-17 effort from 3-point territory for 35 percent. The guests were also 13-of-23 at the charity stripe for 56 percent.
Connor Baker paced BHS with a game-high 20 points, followed by Logan Adams with 17 points and Evan Wells with eight markers to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. Merritt also added eight points and eight caroms.
Nick Godfrey was next with five points and eight boards, while P.J. Alder completed the winning tally with three points.
Eastern returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Waterford in a TVC Hocking contest at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.