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Belpre girls soar past Eastern, 61-46

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Belpre’s Jaylynn Wright is tied up by Eastern’s Brielle Newland (34) and Hope Reed (4) during the Golden Eagles 61-46 victory Thursday night.

BELPRE — Sydney Reynolds went for game-highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds here Thursday night for host Eastern, but the visiting Eagles weren’t able to hold a 29-20 halftime advantage as Belpre evened its record at 7-7 after rallying for a 61-46 victory to sweep the season series.

Eastern, which lost to the Golden Eagles 60-51 in early December, had just seven players available for head coach Jay Reynolds. The two teams were both in serious foul trouble with three starters apiece having collected a trio of fouls by intermission.

Kaitlen Bush (22 points), Curstin Giffin (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Halee Williams (10 points) did most of the heavy lifting for the Golden Eagles of head coach Chris Murray, who also received seven points and 11 boards off the bench from Khyleigh Scott.

“Honestly, the big difference in that game was Alyssa Hutchinson, Khyleigh Scott, Maddie Garber, Jaylynn Wright and Allie Jaraucaro literally all stepped up and had big moments for us,” said the Belpre head man. “I thought that we did a better job at attacking the rim in space and in transition. I thought we just kind of got rebounds and instead of holding it we pushed it up the floor.

“Also, I think Halee those first four minutes (of the third) when she was in was big for us. You know, Kaitlen, Halle and Curstin can help carry us, but our role players played huge roles tonight in getting us to the finish line. I thought our defensive intensity in the second half was good.”

A deuce by Hutchinson opened the scoring in the third and ignited a 14-0 run. Williams followed with a three-point play and then made three more field goals. Giffin’s trifecta from the top of the key made it 34-29 at the 4:21 mark.

Eastern, which dropped to 3-10 and returns to action when Berne Union invades on Tuesday, was unable to regain the lead. Hope Reed’s triple cut it to 38-35 with 2:58 left in the quarter, but Belpre scored the final two baskets as Scott assisted on a Giffin bucket in the paint and Bush got a putback.

Scott scored all three of her hoops in a span of 91 seconds in the fourth quarter. Following a steal by Williams, which led to a lay-in by Bush, Belpre was in complete control up 53-39 with 3:33 remaining.

“They are a tough team and have played a good schedule,” added Murray, whose squad lost the turnover battle 25-18 but held a 55-38 edge on the glass. “They got into some foul trouble tonight.

“I thought, really, they missed some shots in the second half they typically hit. We attacked the rim and got to the bucket and did a really good job. I was really proud of all of our girls tonight.”

The two teams each shot 7 of 27 in the first half, but Eastern finished at 20.7% (12 of 58) and the Golden Eagles connected on 25 of 58 (43.1%) attempts. Jennifer Parker added 12 points and Juli Durst had six in the setback.

“It will be a tough game. Our league is good and we have to go to Trimble on Wednesday,” continued Murray, who is giving his team the day off. “We obviously know that’s the league champ and it’s going to be a tough game. Right now it’s a matter of execution.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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