By Wade Linville –
The Eastern Warriors upped their overall record to 4-2 and their Southern Hills Athletic Conference record to 2-1 with recent league victories over the West Union Dragons (57-49) and the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs (66-64).
After starting their 2016-17 court campaign off with non-league wins over Hillsboro and Piketon to start off 2-0, the Warriors then suffered back-to-back losses to North Adams (45-41) and Williamsburg (67-46) to drop to an even record of 2-2. But rather than hanging their heads after the losses, the Warriors climbed back on their horse and responded by claiming consecutive league wins over two tough SHAC Division I opponents.
The Warriors played host to the West Union Dragons on Dec. 16, a bout that saw the Eastern boys rise to a narrow 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and go on to outscore the Dragons 15-13 in the second quarter to hold a 32-28 lead at halftime.
Coming off halftime break, it was the Dragons outscoring the Warriors 9-3 in the third quarter to leave Eastern trailing 37-35.
The Warriors saved their best for last, rallying in the fourth quarter to outscore the Dragons 22-12 in the frame, securing an eight point victory.
The win marked the first SHAC victory of the season for the Warriors.
Leading the way in scoring for Eastern was junior Garyn Purdy with 15 points, sinking three field goals and connecting on nine-of-12 attempts from the foul line.
Eastern senior Blake Rigdon finished with 14 points, burying five-of-10 attempts from the field and draining four-of-five shots from the foul line.
The Warriors were scheduled to take a trip to Lynchburg-Clay High School on Dec. 20 to face the home standing Mustangs, and they are back at home Friday, Dec. 23 to host the Felicity-Franklin Cardinals for a non-league contest.
The Warriors were on the road for the Dec. 20 two-point win over the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs who were expected to be among the front runners in the SHAC big school division this season. It was a game-winning lay-up by Rigdon with just over three seconds left on the clock to seal the Warriors’ win over Lynchburg.
The Warriors were scheduled to host the Felicity-Franklin Cardinals in a non-league game Dec. 23 before kicking off play against Fayetteville-Perry in round one of the Brown County Holiday Classic Tournament at Eastern High School on Dec. 29.