BELPRE-The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the Eagles from Eastern Local.
"The number I like best is the 15 assists," said Eastern head coach John Burdette following his team's 70-23 victory over host Belpre Monday night. "This is the most unselfish bunch of girls that I have ever been associated with."
High praise coming for a head coach whose team reached the Sweet 16 in Division IV a year ago and the Elite Eight the year before.
"Hopefully, we learned some lessons," said Belpre head coach Scott Miller. "We played Waterford to begin the season and were able to learn from that game and went to Miller and played much better."
Both teams return to action on Thursday with Belpre taking to the road to face Federal Hocking at 7 p.m., while Eastern (3-0) plays host to Waterford in a battle of small school powers in Ohio.
"The biggest thing we were concerned about tonight was our execution," continued Burdette. "I talk to the girls every day about mental preparation. You can be one of the most talented teams in the state, but if you are not focused, you are not going to win. Some of the best teams are those that are mentally prepared to play every night."
That was the case on Monday as Eastern jumped out to a 21-2 lead after the first eight minutes and never looked back.
Jordan Parker got things rolling for the visitors as she took advantage of an Erin Swatzel steal-one of 19 registered by Eastern in the contest-and scored an easy deuce just 31 seconds into the game.
Belpre, now 1-2 on the season, finally got on the scoreboard when freshman Katelyn Hughes picked off an Eastern pass and laid the ball in for two points with 5:39 showing on the clock to slice the deficit to 6-2.
Those, however, would be the only points tallied by the hosts in the frame as Eastern connected on 8-of-18 attempts from the floor. Parker finished with eight of her 18 points in the period while Jenna Burdette, who led all scorers with 20 points, chipped in with six.
Belpre's shooting woes continued in the second quarter, hitting on only 3-of-15 attempts from the floor, while Eastern made good on more than half (9) of its 17 shots to head to the locker rooms at the intermission leading by 33 points, 44-11.
"We have to do the basic fundamentals, which are all of the things they (Eastern) do, if we are going to improve as a team," added Miller. "Every thing he (Eastern head coach Burdette) said were things that I have been telling my kids all year."
Joining Burdette and Parker, who added a game-leading 11 rebounds, in double figures for the winners was Swatzel with 10 points. Belpre was paced by Sierra Barker's nine points-all coming in the third quarter on back-to-back-to-back triples.
"Right now, we have got to continue to get better at the little things," said the Eastern coach. "That's why we did the things we did in the second half. There were things that we needed to work on and we were able to do that."