TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Thirty straight decisions and 695 days.
That is how long it has been since the Eastern boys basketball team won a game.
The Eagles did just that Friday evening, besting the Southern Tornadoes 54-40 at home in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup.
Both defenses showed out at the beginning of Friday’s ballgame, with both offenses having trouble getting their shots to land.
The Eagles (1-11, 1-4 TVC Hocking) and Tornadoes (4-12, 0-6) got only a basket each in the first four minutes of the first quarter.
The Purple and Gold briefly held the lead, but the home team quickly took back over with a 6-0 scoring run to close out the first with a 8-4 lead.
In the second quarter, the Eagles make a couple of shots behind the 3-point line to go up 15-7 with just under four minutes to go.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the rest of the second.
The Tornadoes did have a couple of stretches where they got some key turnovers and appeared they were gearing up for a comeback, but the Eagles held them off through the end of the first half, going into halftime with a 25-18 lead.
Southern threatened early in the third quarter, bringing the Eastern lead all the way down to two points.
However, the home team slowly extended its lead back to seven points.
The Tornadoes got into foul trouble early in the second half, getting five fouls before three minutes were left in the third and putting the Green and Gold into the bonus with 1:45 left.
The Eagles outscored their opponents 10-4 in the final two minutes of the third, entering the fourth quarter with a 41-28 advantage.
In the beginning minutes of the fourth, the Eagles slowly extended their lead to 12 points.
As the seconds ticked away, it appeared nothing was going the Tornadoes’ way, including a crucial 3-pointer rattling into then out of the rim and the Eagles getting two consecutive offensive rebounds off of free throws.
Friday’s game quickly became a dual of free throws, with 10 of the final 12 points coming from the charity stripe.
Ultimately, the Eagles were able to finish off their divisional rivals, sealing their first win since the 2019-20 season.
In shot totals, the Eagles had the advantage in 3-pointers and free throws, outscoring the road team 5-0 and 17-8, respectively.
The Tornadoes had the edge in field goals 16-11.
Leading the Eagles in points was junior Trey Hill, who recorded three 3-pointers, one field goal and three free throws for a total of 14 points.
Junior Jace Bullington and freshman Gavin Riggins tied for second, both getting 11 points.
Bullington had two 3-pointers, two field goals and one free throw while Riggins had one field goal and nine free throws.
Rounding out the Eastern scoring were Bryce Newland with 10 points, Connor Nolan with six points, Isaiah Reed with five points and Brayden O’Brien with three points.
The Tornadoes were led by senior Cade Anderson, who got four field goals and three free throws for a total of 11 points.
Next was senior Lincoln Rose, who had four field goals and one free throw for nine points.
Rounding out the Southern scoring were Aiden Hill with six points, Derek Griffith with four points, Issac McCarty with three points, Cruz Brinager with two points, Tanner Lisle with two points and Damien Miller with two points.
In rebounds, both teams were dead even with 10 offensive boards and 21 defensive for a total of 31 each.
The Green and Gold were led by Riggins with 11.
The Purple and Gold were led by Rose with eight.
The Eagles will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to face the Wellston Golden Rockets in a TVC nondivisional contest.
The Tornadoes will be back on the court at 6 p.m. Friday when they travel to face the Federal Hocking Lancers in a TVC-Hocking matchup.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.