LATHAM, Ohio — A tough start led to a disappointing ending.
The Eastern boys basketball team mustered only four baskets in the opening 16 minutes of regulation, while 12th seeded Western built a 25-9 halftime advantage and never looked back Wednesday night during a 60-34 victory in a Division IV Southeast 1 sectional semifinal held at WHS in Pike County.
The 21st seeded Eagles (0-18) were competitive in the opening frame as the Indians (9-9) claimed a small 11-6 edge, but the hosts countered with five points apiece from Kolten Miller and Sean Kerns as part of a 14-3 second quarter surge that gave WHS a 16-point cushion at the break.
Despite reaching double digits in each of the final two cantos, EHS was ultimately never closer as Western made a 17-11 third period push while extending its lead out to 42-20 headed into the finale.
Bryce Newland poured in eight points down the stretch run for the guests, but the Indians ultimately closed regulation with an 18-14 run to complete the 26-point outcome.
Western advances to face fifth seeded Whiteoak in the sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
The Eagles made 15 total field goals — including two 3-pointers — and also went 2-of-9 at the free throw line for 22 percent.
Newland paced EHS with 10 points, followed by Trey Hill with seven points and Ethan Short with five markers. Brady Watson and Isaiah Reed were next with four points each, while Brad Hawk and Owen Johnson completed the scoring with two markers apiece.
Western netted 22 total field goals — including four trifectas — and also sank 12-of-13 charity tosses for 92 percent.
Colton Montgomery led the Indians with a game-high 16 points, followed by Kerns with 12 points and Miller with 11 markers. Riley Beckman was next with six points, while Reed Brewster and Zach Teed respectively added five and four points.
Colt Henderson, Dalton Risner and Noah Whitt completed the winning tally with two points each.
Eastern’s last win came last year in the opening round of the sectional tournament, a 50-24 decision over visiting Portsmouth Notre Dame on Feb. 19, 2020.
The Eagles will enter the 2021-22 campaign looking to end a 19-game losing skid.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.