Eastern Eagles best Belpre girls, 79-43

BELPRE – Eastern, the No. 2 Division IV girls basketball team in Ohio, rolled over host Belpre 79-43 Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles are now 19-1 on the season with their lone loss coming two weeks ago at the hands of Huntington St. Joseph, the top-ranked Class A squad in West Virginia.

Belpre dropped to 14-5 with Saturday’s setback, and will be on the road at Southern Monday at 7:30 p.m.

With a starting lineup of all seniors headed to college to play basketball, Eastern began to take control of Saturday’s game in the final three minutes of the first quarter, spurting from just a 9-7 lead into a 25-11 advantage as a result of a 16-4 run.

A 16-9 second period in the Eagles’ favor made the count 41-20 at the half and a 28-13 third quarter on the side of Eastern propelled the visitors ahead by a substantial 69-33 margin, making the last eight minutes of play academic to the outcome.

Eastern was led in scoring by Jenna Burdette, bound for the University of Dayton on a basketball scholarship, with 15 points, followed by Jordan Parker and Maddie Rigsby with 13 each, Katie Kellar with 12, Erin Swatzel with nine and Laura Pullins with seven.

For Belpre, which plays at 6:15 p.m. next Saturday (Feb. 15) in a sectional championship game versus Wellston at Athens High School, Lexus Cunningham netted 13 points, Katelyn Hughes collected 10 and Sierra Barker tallied nine.

“It’s kind of hard to say with the final score that I was pleased, but I was pleased that our team didn’t quit,” said Belpre head coach Scott Miller. “When you play against competition that’s state-bound probably, it’s different, and you have to see that and learn from it. We’re still fairly young, and it’s a continual learning process.”