Belpre too much for Eastern

BELPRE – Host Belpre got rolling offensively in the second half while clamping down defensively on Eastern as the Golden Eagles squared their record at 6-6 with a 75-43 triumph over a TVC Hocking Division rival Friday night.

Belpre turned a three-point halftime lead, 32-29, into a 32-point blowout with a strong second-half performance, tallying 43 points while limiting the visiting Eagles (3-9) to just a pair of seven-point periods.

Nick Therriault led the Golden Eagle offensive assault with a game-high 19 points as well as 18 rebounds. Austin Forshey followed with 17 points, including 12 on four treys, while Dakota Hoffman netted 16 and Ryan Leasure, in a return from a knee injury suffered exactly a month ago in the third game of the season, finished with 10. Brennen Ferrell added eight for Belpre, now 5-2 in the TVC Hocking, which plays next at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Federal Hocking.

Kirk Pullins’ 14 points paced Eastern, while Max Carnahan collected 10 and Troy Gantt scored seven.

After a 14-14 first-quarter standoff, Belpre forged a five-point lead midway through the second stanza. But Carnahan pumped in two 3-balls sandwiched around a Gantt basket for an 8-0 Eastern run to lift the Eagles into a 26-23 advantage at the 2:22 mark.

The visitors were up 29-25 with 1:46 to go in the first half when Belpre ended the first 16 minutes of play on a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Forshey trey with 26.3 seconds left to push the Golden Eagles ahead by three at intermission.

The third quarter saw Belpre dominate 23-7, with a 15-1 run enabling the hosts to zoom out to a 47-32 lead at 3:22. Then Therriault and Leasure split the last eight Golden Eagle points in the period as Belpre upped the spread to 19, 55-36, heading to the last quarter.

After a 9-0 start to the final period by Belpre, the margin hit as much as 33 twice before cresting at 34, 75-41, on a Ferrell hoop with 26.6 seconds remaining.

”Just having Ryan back in the lineup makes us much better, because he’s one of our best players,” said Belpre head coach Jordan Thornhill.

”We wanted the tempo great tonight and the energy defensively to be high, and it was smooth in the first half, but we cranked it up there in that third quarter. And the better our defense is, the easier our offense becomes, and we had a lot of good performances from a lot of different people tonight.”