Eastern Falls Off The Pace In Heated Rivalry

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The Eastern Eagles got caught in a storm for the second time this season, as they fell short to their rival, the Southern Tornadoes, 58-34. The Eagles finished their regular season 2-19, and 1-15 in the TVC-Hocking.

This also marks the end of head coach Jeremy Hill’s first regular season with the boys from Reedsville. This was an important game for Hill considering, it was a final faceoff with his own previously-coached team.

“It’s extremely hard. (I’ve) Got a lot of family, got a lot of friends over there,” Hill said. “I think it’s more hard on my parents because now they have to put on an Eastern Eagles T-shirt.”  

The crowd was just as invested in the rivalry as the team. Southern was feeling the Valentine’s Day love from their fans. Despite it being a home game for the Eagles, the Tornadoes’ fans roared above the cries of the Eastern crowd.

The rivalry was fought fiercely. The Eagles led the first quarter 10-8 and Southern turned it around 26-19 in the second. The game got personal. Eastern finished with eight fouls and Southern nine, just in the first half. The referees’ lips never left the whistle.

However, Eastern seemed to lose their heat in the fourth. They were only able to score three times throughout the entire quarter.

Southern took advantage and lit their own fire, claiming almost every rebound. Trenton Deem had three rebounds to wrap up the game, flying higher than any Eagle and running the ball back full speed. The Tornadoes put up 20 points and blew the Eagles away.

“Defensively, we played as hard as we had,” said Hill. “We have to give credit to racing Southern because they’re a very nice ball club. You’re not 15-6 and looking to win the league and make some noise in the tournament being a bad ball club.”

Southern was led by junior guard Tristen Wolfe, who put up 17 points, garnered four rebounds and dished out five assists.

Eastern will enter the tournament Wednesday at Meigs High School against the Ironton St. Joseph Flyers at 8 p.m.