REEDSVILLE - With first place on the line in the Tri-Valley Conference - Hocking Division, the Eastern Lady Eagles simply overpowered the Waterford Lady Wildcats Thursday night.
Eastern shined on the defensive end of the floor, forcing 33 Waterford turnovers and holding the 'Cats to just 10 field goals en route to a 65-36 blowout victory.
Offensively, first team all-stater and Dayton-bound Jenna Burdette gave Waterford fits, scoring 21 points and hauling in 10 rebounds for a double-double.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Eastern’s Katie Keller (15) shoots over Waterford’s Regan Porter (40) during prep girls basketball action Thursday night.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Waterford’s Taylor Hilverding (14) bounce passes the ball to teammate Hannah Dailey (10) in a prep girls basketball game at Eastern Thursday night.
On this night, Eastern appeared to be better in every phase of the game.
"The only thing I can say is that's a good team," said Waterford head Jerry Close.
"That's a good team and we've got a lot of things to fix."
EASTERN 65, WATERFORD 36
Waterford 11 8 9 8 - 36
Eastern 12 20 19 14 - 65
WATERFORD (7-3, 7-1)
Hannah Dailey 0 1-2 1, Taylor Hilverding 1 1-5 3, Dani Drayer 7 3-4 21, Randee Seevers 1 0-0 3, Regan Porter 1 0-0 2, Maddy Sury 0 1-2 1, Cassie Reed 0 0-0 0, Mariah Starkey 0 5-8 5, Sam Farley 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 10 11-21 36. 3-point goals: 5 (Drayer 4, Seevers 1).
EASTERN (9-0, 7-0)
Laura Pullins 5 0-0 11, Jordan Parker 6 1-2 15, Jenna Burdette 7 6-6 21, Katie Keller 3 0-0 6, Hannah Barringer 0 0-0 0, Alia Hayes 0 0-0 0, Maddie Rigsby 3 0-0 6, Erin Swatzel 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 27 7-8 65. 3-point goals: 4 (Parker 2, Pullins 1, Burdette 1).
Waterford: Shooting: 10-40 (25 percent); 3-point shooting: 5-14 (35.7 percent); Rebounds: 23 (Porter 6, Drayer 5); Assists: 4; Steals: 4; Blocks: 1; Turnovers: 33.
Eastern: Shooting: 27-64 (42 percent); 3-point shooting: 4-15 (26.6 percent); Rebounds: 35 (Keller 10, Burdette 10); Assists: 10 (Parker 4); Steals: 11 (Burdette 4); Blocks: 7; Turnovers: 24.
JV: Waterford 19, Eastern 16
The first eight minutes were a dogfight. Dani Drayer connected on a mid-range jumper in the first minute before Burdette made consecutive layups.
Later, Regan Porter posted up and found Randee Seevers open beyond the arch. Seevers drained the 3 to put Waterford back up at 5-4.
Drayer then made another jumper before Burdette drove the lane and hit a basket.
Drayer continued to carry Waterford's offense by dialing up from long range to make the score 10-6, but Jordan Parker and Burdette each found the bottom of the net to tie it up.
Laura Pullins ended the first quarter scoring by taking a steal the length of the court for a layup to put Eastern up 12-11 after one period.
Parker drained a triple to open the second quarter, but a Drayer responded with a 2-point jumper and then a 3-point jumper to put the Wildcats back on top at 16-15.
After Maddie Rigsby's bucket gave the advantage back to Eastern, Parker and Pullins each made treys, Pullins' attempt being of the bank variety, to extend the lead to 23-16.
Waterford would manage just three free throws the remainder of the half as Eastern received 2-pointers from Katie Keller, Parker, Erin Swatzel and Rigsby to make it a 32-19 game at halftime.
Drayer netted 14 of Waterford's 19 first half points.
"We need more people to step up and score," Close said. "Some of our players have to be more assertive and score."
The Eagles scored the first eight points of the third quarter to pull ahead by 21.
Later in the period, after a 3 by Drayer and a putback basket by Porter cut it to 42-25, Burdette scored seven straight points, including her only 3 of the game, to make it a 24-point game.
The Wildcats could manage just 11 points the rest of the way as Eastern came away with the convincing 29-point triumph.
The Lady Eagles made 27-of-64 (42 percent) shot attempts in the game. Eastern dominated on the glass with 35 rebounds, leading to several second chance points.
"That's huge on the inside," Close said. "Our tallest player is 5-foot-10 and they've got three over or right at 6-0. That is a huge advantage and it alters a lot of shots and it changes the offense."
Waterford shot 10-for-40 (25 percent) overall and was just 5-for-26 (19 percent) inside the arch. Drayer finished with 21 points.
Last season, Waterford was blown out even worse in Reedsville by a score of 76-39, but avenged it with a 63-46 win at home later in the season. The two teams ended up sharing the TVC-Hocking crown. The Wildcats will get their second shot at Eastern on Feb. 6 in Waterford.
"We'll get better," Close said. "The kids aren't gonna quit."