By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
Eastern seniors Bethany Neeley and Ally Oyler scored 22 and 18 points respectively, and the Class 2A No. 7-ranked Comets forced 27 turnovers in a 61-31 road win over Sheridan Saturday night in their season opener.
Eastern stretched a 12-point halftime advantage into a 32-point stronghold by the end of the third quarter, 53-21.
“We didn’t have a scrimmage and this was Sheridan’s third game of the year, so we were a little bit jittery in the first quarter,” Eastern coach Jeremy Dexter said. “We missed some open shots and weren’t quite doing some of the things we needed to do. In the second quarter, we got things together defensively and created some offensive things off of that in transition. We really opened it up in the third quarter, which allowed us to pull our starters and start to work on improving our bench depth. We were able to do that the last 11 or 12 minutes, and the girls continued to do good things and build on what the starters had done.”
Bethany Neeley also pulled down a team-high eight boards as Eastern outrebounded the Blackhawks (1-2) 21-12.
Oyler hit three 3-pointers during her stint on the court. She played the first three quarters without ever subbing out.
“She stepped up and knocked down some shots for us, and also served as our safety on defense,” Dexter said of Oyler. “We need her to keep focusing on her shooting. Her 18 points and defensive safety role were vital.”
Western 58, Frankfort 48
Western hit the winning column in its second contest of the season by defeating Frankfort by 10.
The Panthers (1-1) led all the way with a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, 33-26 at halftime, and 42-30 at the end of the third quarter with the final being 58-48.
“Overall, we came out of the gates well with our press, but then we took too many quick shots,” Western coach Chris Keisling said. “We didn’t [shoot] well in transition. Frankfort started to hit free throws. We had a big third quarter, and we raided the bench. Frankfort came back from 30 points down to the final 10.”
Raven Black led Western with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Allison Lindley added 11 points, and Jessica Givens contributed with 10 points and six rebounds.