WATERFORD, Ohio — Apparently, there is no place like home.
The Waterford girls basketball team picked up its 10th consecutive victory over visiting Eastern within the friendly confines of Waterford Elementary Monday night during a 63-46 decision in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Washington County.
The Lady Wildcats (14-4, 13-1 TVC Hocking) never trailed in the contest, as the hosts jumped out to early leads of 4-0, 6-2 and 8-4 before establishing a 16-9 advantage after eight minutes of play.
The Lady Eagles (15-4, 12-1) — who were playing in their fourth contest in five days — ultimately never recovered the rest of the way, as WHS made an 18-12 second quarter run to secure its biggest lead of the first half at 34-21 entering the break.
EHS twice trailed by as many as 18 points in the third stanza, including a 53-35 deficit headed into the finale. The Lady Eagles won the fourth stanza by a small 11-10 margin, but never came closer than five possessions down the stretch.
The 17-point victory allowed the Lady ‘Cats to join Eastern as the only one-loss teams in the TVC Hocking standings and also served as revenge for a 76-39 setback at EHS back on December 6. The 54-point turnaround also means that Waterford now has a legitimate chance at a share of its ninth consecutive Hocking Division crown.
The Lady Eagles — who entered the contest ranked eighth in the Division IV Associated Press poll — last won at Waterford during the 2002-03 campaign under former EHS coach Rick Edwards. EHS must also win out to earn a share of this winter’s league crown.
Eastern connected on 21-of-56 field goal attempts for 38 percent and committed nine turnovers in the contest, half as many as the 18 miscues by WHS. Waterford — which shot 23-of-47 from the floor for 49 percent — claimed a 40-18 overall edge on the boards.
Jenna Burdette led the Lady Eagles with 22 points, followed by Jordan Parker with 14 points and Katie Keller with five markers. Tori Goble added three points, while Erin Swatzel and Maddie Rigsby rounded out the respective scoring with two points and one point. EHS was 9-of-18 at the free throw line for 50 percent.
Freshman Dani Drayer paced Waterford with a game-high 24 points, followed by Brooke Drayer with 14 points and Chelsey Paxton with eight markers. Regan Porter also had seven points for the hosts, who were 13-of-14 at the charity stripe for 93 percent.
Waterford coach Jerry Close has never lost a TVC Hocking game at home during his seven-year tenure. The Lady ‘Cats are 84-2 overall and 43-0 at home during that span. Both of those setbacks have come against fifth-year EHS coach John Burdette.