WELLSTON, Ohio — Overmatched in the middle rounds.
Third seeded Trimble used a pivotal 27-12 surge in the middle quarters and shot 51 percent from the field on Wednesday night en route to a 61-42 victory over the Eastern boys basketball team in a Division IV sectional final held at Wellston High School.
The 14th seeded Eagles (11-13) took their only lead of the night 15 seconds into regulation, but the host Tomcats (20-3) trailed only 36 seconds before ultimately securing a permanent lead on a Tyler Weber trifecta with 5:54 remaining in the opening frame.
The Green and White managed to pull back to within a point following a Colton Reynolds bucket 21 seconds later, but THS countered with an 11-2 run over the next three minutes while securing its first double digit lead of 16-6 with 2:24 left.
EHS, however, answered with five straight points to close out the first frame and trailed 16-11 through eight minutes of work.
A Ryan Dill trifecta at the 6:55 mark allowed the guests to close to within 18-14 with 6:55 left in the half, but the Eagles were ultimately never closer the rest of the way.
The Tomcats limited EHS to just a single basket the rest of the half while making a 10-2 charge that provided a comfortable 28-16 cushion at the break.
Garrett Barringer capped a small 4-2 spurt with a basket at the 6:44 mark, allowing Eastern to again close to within 10 points at 30-20.
The guests, however, were never closer from there as the Tomcats reeled off a dozen straight points over the next 5:32 while securing their largest lead of the night at 43-20 with 1:11 remaining in the third.
Barringer ended Eastern’s nearly six-minute scoreless drought with a trifecta with 48 seconds left, whittling the deficit down to 43-23 entering the finale.
EHS managed to cut the deficit down to 16 points on three different occasions down the stretch, the last of which came on at 54-38 following a pair of Mason Dishong free throws with 2:58 left in regulation.
The Tomcats closed the final 2:22 with a small 7-4 run that eventually completed the 19-point outcome.
Trimble, with the sectional championship victory, advances to the district tournament at the Ohio University Convocation Center and will face 11th seeded South Webster at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
Eastern downfall in the middle quarters simply came down to a cold-shooting performance, as the guests went just 2-of-10 from the field in each of the two frames. The Red and Gray, on the other hand, netted 11-of-21 shot attempts during that same 16-minute span.
The Tomcats also owned the boards from start to finish, starting with a 9-0 advantage in the first period alone. THS also held a 17-5 lead on the glass at halftime, including a 6-3 edge on the offensive end.
THS outrebounded the Eagles by a sizable 38-16 overall margin by night’s end, including an 11-6 edge on the offensive boards. Both teams also committed a dozen turnovers each in the contest.
Eastern made 14-of-45 field goal attempts for 31 percent, including a 4-of-14 effort from behind the arc for 26 percent. The Green and White also went 10-of-14 at the free throw line for 71 percent.
Barringer led EHS with 17 points and Reynolds followed with 11 points. Mason Dishong and Derrick Metheney were next with four markers apiece, while Dill and Matthew Blanchard completed the tally with three points each.
Dishong led the guests with seven rebounds, while Barringer hauled in three boards.
Trimble netted 22-of-43 shot attempts overall, including a 1-of-9 effort from behind the arc for 11 percent. The hosts were also 16-of-22 at the charity stripe for 73 percent.
Blake Guffey led THS with a game-high 23 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half. Tyler Weber was next with 15 points, while Brayden Weber and Cameron Kittle respectively added 11 and seven markers.
Austin Wisor and Bryce Downs completed the winning tally with respective efforts of four and two points. Kittle and Tyler Weber led the hosts with nine rebounds apiece, while Guffey also grabbed eight caroms for the victors.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Derrick Metheney, Colton Reynolds, Ryan Dill, Mason Dishong and Garrett Barringer in the Green and White.
The Eagles — who haven’t appeared at districts since 2013 — finished the season with an 8-8 mark in Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.