Eastern Eagles Claim Season Opener Against River Valley Raiders In Overtime

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The Eastern Eagles hosted the River Valley Raiders in the opening game of the basketball season for both teams. The Eagles just squeaked by the Raiders in overtime, 64-61.

The first game of a season includes lots of rust to shake off, so why not play an extra four minutes of basketball?

The Raiders and Eagles were an even matchup coming into the game. Neither team had a size advantage or extra experience and that showed on the floor.

The first half was back and forth almost the whole time before the Eagles’ Sharp Facemyer pushed forward with a 3-pointer and a layup for five straight points. Facemyer finished with 7 points in the first half and helped give the Eagles an eight-point lead going into halftime, 30-22.

The Raiders came out in the second half with a sense of urgency. They held the Eagles to scoring just nine points in the 3rd quarter. River Valley forced bad shots from Eastern and ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating three by Brady Eblin to give them a 2-point lead, 41-39 going into the final quarter of regulation.

The 4th quarter came down to the very end, just like it was expected – back and forth until there was 1:41 remaining in the game. River Valley’s Jordan Lambert got fouled and hobbled to the free throw line. Lambert, who finished with 24 points, drilled both shots and gave the Raiders a 4-point lead, 55-51.

Neither team could pull away for the next 1:20 of game time, until Eastern’s Garrett Barringer, who finished with 20 points, hit a mid-range jumper to pull the Eagles within two, 57-55.  The Eagles fouled to send River Valley’s Rory Twyman to the line for the one and one bonus.

Twyman missed his first free throw and the Eagles came down with the rebound. Sharp Facemyer, who finished with 12 points, moved into the paint with 6 seconds left and was fouled on the shot and sent to the free throw line for 2 shots.

Facemyer sunk both and sent the game to overtime tied at 57.

Overtime played out similar to the 4th quarter: neither team could get much going until Eastern was able to force bad shots for River Valley and was in the bonus. Blaise and Sharp Facemyer combined to go 4-6 from the free throw line and give the Eagles a 63-61 lead.

Sharp was put on the line again with 7 seconds to go and hit 1-2. The score was 64-61, River Valley’s Layne Fitch, who finished with 16 points, brought up the inbounds pass and pulled up for a shot just inside half court. The shot deflected off to the right and fell as the clock sounded.

The Eagles moved to 1-0 with the 64-61 victory as River Valley fell to 0-1. The Eastern will take on Chesapeake at home Tuesday.