Eastern Seniors Save Their Best for Last

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Three seniors took the court in Reedsville for the final time on Monday as the Eastern Lady Eagles hosted the Lady Lancers of Federal Hocking. The Lady Eagles saved their best performance for their last home game of the year, defeating the Lady Lancers 62-53.

Those seniors, Jess Parker, Alyson Bailey and Kelsey Casto, combined for 37 of Eastern’s 62 points in what was a very neck-and-neck battle in the first half. Eastern took a 26-23 lead into the locker room thanks to an Alyson Bailey coast-to-coast layup.

For the Lady Lancers, their offense revolved around Paige Tolson all night long. Facing a soft full-court press almost the whole game from Jess Parker, Tolson was forced to rely on her mature game and excellent ball-handling skills to create space for the offense to run and finish the night with 13 points of her own.

Tolson’s go-to girl, Hannah Rose, finished with an impressive performance as well. A double-double of 14 points and 10 boards gave the Lady Lancers an inside game as Tolson worked the outside the majority of the night.

The Lady Eagles came into this one focused on attacking one girl, however – Emma Beha who dealt with foul trouble all night long. After Beha picked up her fourth foul with six minutes left in the third, and was subsequently benched, the Lady Eagles went on a run. They pushed the ball up the floor with Parker making long lead passes, and Bailey driving hard to the basket.

The Lady Eagles outscored the Lady Lancers 23-12 in the third, extending their lead to 49-35 heading into the final quarter of play. Once Beha committed her fifth and final foul, any chance of a comeback was diminished. Beha’s foul trouble played a big part Thursday night as she only finished with four points on 1 of 4 shooting from the field.

The big stars tonight were the three seniors for Eastern. Jess Parker finished with 12 points and also played some solid defense on Tolson all night long. Alyson Bailey didn’t have her best shooting night, but she still finished with 11 points shooting 4 of 13 from the field. Kelsey Casto had a monstrous night, finishing with 14 points and adding eight rebounds. Other key contributors for the Lady Eagles included Olivia Barber who controlled the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds, while adding six points of her own.

The Lady Eagles look to ride this momentum into tournament time. Alyson Bailey spoke after the game about her postseason chances.

“Coach Parker always says that your seniors will take you as far as they can in the tournament, so I’m just striving to keep my team in the tournament because I’ll be heartbroken once it’s all over with,” Bailey said.

Overall, the senior leadership shined one last time in the Nest for the Lady Eagles, improving their record to 11-7 (11-4 TVC-Hocking) on the year. They hit the road on Thursday to play Southern to wrap up the regular season before tournaments start. For Federal Hocking, they drop to 7-12 (6-8) on the year and will conclude their season on Thursday when they host Miller.