RACINE, Ohio — Rallying back and running through the finish line.
The Eastern girls basketball team trailed host Southern by six points with 7:30 left in Monday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest in Meigs County, but the guests finished the game on a 21-to-3 run for a 51-39 victory.
Eastern (9-11, 6-8 TVC Hocking) didn’t trail in the opening quarter, jumping out to a 16-8 lead 7:30 into play.
Southern (4-17, 1-14) hit a pair of free throws to end the first period, and then scored the first six points of the second, tying the game at 16. The Lady Tornadoes led for the first time at 19-17 on a Kelly Shaver three-pointer with 5:06 remaining in the half, but Eastern was back in front at 25-23 on a two-pointer by Juli Durst with 55 seconds to go.
After a 25-all tie — the fifth tie of the quarter — SHS regained the edge one second before the half, with Kayla Evans making a free throw for the 26-25 lead.
The guests were held off the board for over 3:30 to start the second half, with Southern extending its lead to 31-25. A Jennifer Parker three-pointer ended the Lady Eagles’ drought with 4:11 left in the third, but SHS scored three of the final five points in the period and headed into the finale with a 34-30 edge.
SHS senior Baylee Wolfe was 2-for-2 at the foul line 22 seconds into the fourth quarter, giving SHS a 36-30 advantage. The Lady Eagles, however, scored the next nine points, taking the lead for good on a Jaymie Basham two-pointer off an assist from Sydney Reynolds with 4:45 to play.
The Lady Tornadoes — who had a trio of starters foul out in the fourth quarter — got back to within two points twice, at 39-37 and 41-39. Eastern — which lost one starter to fouls in the finale — sealed the 51-39 victory with a 10-0 run, featuring an 8-for-10 performance at the free throw line.
For the game, the Green and White were 16-of-42 (38.1 percent) from the field, including 2-of-10 (20 percent) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Southern sank 13-of-50 (26 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) three-point tries. EHS connected on 17-of-30 (56.7 percent) foul shots, while SHS was 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) from the line.
After trailing by six in the battle for the boards at halftime, the Lady Eagles finished with a 33-to-32 rebounding advantage for the game, with SHS taking a 15-to-12 edge in offensive boards. Southern committed 16 turnovers, one more than EHS.
The guests combined for 12 assists, nine steals and two blocks, while the Purple and Gold collected nine steals, eight assists and three rejections.
Juli Durst led Eastern with 12 points, combining three two-pointers, three free throws and a one triple. Parker had the Lady Eagles’ other three-pointer and finished with 10 points in the win.
Basham contributed nine points and seven rebounds to the winning cause, while Olivia Barber and Erica Durst had six points apiece, with Durst earning team-highs of eight rebounds and three assists. Reynolds and Whitney Durst scored three points each for EHS, while Ella Carleton tallied two.
Leading the Green and White on defense, Basham recorded three steals, while Juli Durst had two steals and a block.
Evans led the Purple and Gold with 10 points, featuring one trifecta. Wolfe tallied nine points and nine rebounds for the hosts, scoring all of her points from the foul line. Shelby Cleland was next with eight points, followed by Jordan Hardwick with seven, and Shaver with three. Phoenix Cleland rounded out the SHS tally with two points, to go with a team-best three assists.
The Lady Tornado defense was led by Hardwick with four steals and a block, and Wolfe with three steals and two blocks.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday, with Southern wrapping up league play at Miller, and Eastern hosting Wahama.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.