TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The middle quarters made the difference.
The Eastern girls basketball team dropped a 60-51 decision to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre on Monday in Meigs County, after the visiting Lady Eagles sank 16-of-22 field goal attempts in the second and third periods, turning a 10-point deficit into a 16-point lead.
Eastern (1-3, 0-2 TVC Hocking) led initially, and after a 2-2 tie, scored 13 points in a row for a 15-2 advantage 5:31 into play.
Belpre (1-2, 1-0) claimed the final three points of the opening quarter, but EHS was back up by 13 points, at 18-5 and 20-7, within the opening 2:30 of the second quarter. However, the guests scored 15 straight points on six straight field goals, taking the lead at 22-20 on a Halee Williams two-pointer with 1:43 left in the half.
The Green and White tied it at 22 with a pair of free throws by Jennifer Parker with 1:18 remaining, but BHS was back in front after a three-pointer from Alyssa Hutchinson with 1:03 to go in the half. Hutchinson’s three-pointer started an 8-0 run, which gave the guests a 30-22 halftime lead.
EHS was back to within six points after the opening bucket of the second half, but Belpre answered with a 15-to-4 run for a 17-point lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Eastern scored three of the final five points of the period and headed into the finale down 47-31.
Belpre was ahead by a game-high 18 points, at 49-31, 1:25 into the fourth. EHS closed the game with a 20-to-11 run, falling 60-51.
Each team had 32 rebounds in the contest, with Eastern claiming a 13-to-4 advantage on the offensive glass. EHS turned the ball over 17 times, while Belpre gave possession away 24 times. Collectively, the hosts had 12 assists and 11 steals, while the Orange and Black recorded 13 assists, nine steals and five rejections.
Eastern sank 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) field goals, including 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) three-point tries, while Belpre was 22-of-44 (50 percent) from the field, including 6-of-20 (30 percent) from deep. At the foul line, EHS was 7-of-11 (63.6 percent), while BHS went 10-for-15 (66.7 percent).
Leading the hosts, Parker hit a game-best five three-pointers en route to 21 points. Sydney Reynolds posted a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Juli Durst recorded 10 points and game-highs of four assists and four steals. Hope Reed tallied five points for the Green and White, while Kennadi Rockhold and Ella Carleton had two each, with Rockhold pulling in 10 rebounds.
For Belpre, Kaitlen Bush had team-highs of 18 points, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots. Williams finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the win, while Allie Jaravcaro ended up with 12 points after a team-best three trifectas. Curstin Giffin contributed 11 points to the winning cause, while Hutchinson chipped in with three.
The rematch between these teams is slated for Jan. 14 in Washington County.
Eastern is scheduled to be back on its home court against Waterford on Thursday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.