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PHOTO: Will Price/WOUB

Lady Buckeyes Hold Off Eastern With Late-Game Heroics

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio- The Eastern Lady Eagles had slowly chipped away at the lead the Nelsonville-York Lady Buckeyes had held nearly all game. Led by Jaymie Basham and Olivia Barber, the Eagles were only down by one point as the last few minutes whittled off the clock.

That’s when Joscelyn Heller stepped up and put the game away for the Lady Buckeyes.

Heller had half of her 12 points in the final quarter as Nelsonville-York held off a scrappy Eastern squad for a 40-35 victory.

For most of the game, the Lady Buckeyes were led by star sophomore Mackenzie Hurd. Hurd had a game-high 16 points, keeping Nelsonville-York ahead for most of the game with her scoring and facilitating abilities on full display throughout the game.

Hurd was matched from impressive displays from both Basham and Barber on the offensive end. Barber led the Lady Eagles with 10 points, with Basham right behind her with eight on the night.

Overall, both teams had some rust in the opening game of the year. Turnovers and missed shots plagued both sides, highlighted by a third quarter which only saw 11 combined points. Heading into the fourth, the Lady Buckeyes held a 29-26 lead over the Lady Eagles.

After Nelsonville-York extended the lead to six early in the period, Eastern clawed their way back into the game. Ashton Guthrie hit a big three, and twice in the quarter, the Lady Eagles brought the lead down to just one point.

PHOTO: Will Price/WOUB

That’s when Heller saved the day for the Lady Buckeyes.

With the score at 32-31, she shook off the Eastern defense to score back-to-back buckets that helped put the lead back at five. When Eastern again put the pressure on, it was none other than Heller who scored again off a nice pass from Grace Sinott to push the lead back to three with a minute left. Mackenzie Hurd would assist her sister, senior Haley, on the final basket to put the finishing touches on the game for the Buckeyes.

Nelsonville-York head coach Bobby Cassady said there were some areas to improve, but was satisfied to come away with a victory in the opener.

“First game you can expect some things to not be as fluid,” Cassady said. “These girls are a great group to be around, and I’m confident we’ll continue to get better every day.”

The Lady Buckeyes next game will be Monday, Dec. 2 against the Logan Chieftains at Nelsonville-York. For the Lady Eagles, they’ll look to bounce back against the Trimble Lady Tomcats on Dec. 2 as well.