PEMBERVILLE — The game was more exciting than the final score indicated, as both Elmwood and Eastwood fired every offensive cylinder they had Friday night.
It was Elmwood coming out on top, winning 77-62 over conference foe Eastwood.
The Royals dominated from start to finish, leading for the large majority of the game. Elmwood’s lead ballooned to as much as 28, but the Eagles did not shy away. Eastwood scored 27 points in the final eight minutes, condensing the margin of victory to 15.
“That’s exactly what they do. They keep hustling, they keep grinding,” Royals head coach Doug Reynolds said.
“I wasn’t trying to make any statement. We’re going to win, and we’re going to stop them. That’s the confidence that I have.”
The outstanding player of the night was Brooklyn Thrash, who finished with 32 points, and at least seven steals and five assists. Thrash was also perfect from the free throw line, going 16-of-16.
“I really like beating Eastwood. I just love the way we hustle and the way we play against them. It’s a really fun time,” Thrash said.
Reynolds spoke highly of the junior after her performance.
“You could tell she was ready for this game. She just comes out and she dictates the tempo and what she wants to do, and that puts a lot of pressure on the other team, because there always has to be two girls guarding her, and that opens somebody else up,” Reynolds said.
That somebody else was Lainey Bingham, who finished second in scoring for Elmwood with 17. Thrash’s passing set up open looks for Bingham, who knocked down four triples during the second and third quarters.
“I love getting assists so whenever I get the chance and see her open, I pass it. She hits those threes. I’m just really happy that everybody else is scoring,” Thrash said.
Also a recipient of Thrash’s passes was Mackenzie Mareches, who knocked down two triples in the second quarter. Mareches joined Thrash and Bingham finishing in double figures.
“What’s tremendous is she’s feeding them, and we need those other scorers,” Reynolds said of Thrash.
Turnovers early on set the tone for the Eagles, who gave up the ball 11 times in the first eight minutes, falling behind 27-7 at the half.
“We were careless with the ball. Turnovers definitely hurt us in the first quarter,” Eastwood head coach Nick Schmeltz said.
Aubrey Haas led the way for the Eagles with a superb 24 points, eight of which came in the final quarter. The junior also shot a respectable 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
Haas picked up three personal fouls in the first quarter, but played on throughout the game, tallying 19 points in the final three quarters.
“That was tough,” Schmeltz said. “We’re having to do offensive, defensive substitutions for her in the first half. That’s something as a coach you don’t plan for. We had to put Aubrey on the bench, and we didn’t have anyone to score for us.”
The Royals complete the season sweep of the Eagles. Friday’s contest served as a sequel to the conference opener on Nov. 27. Elmwood won that contest in an overtime thriller 89-76.
The Royals continue their dominance of the Northern Buckeye Conference, improving to 8-0 in league play, as well as 11-0 overall. Eastwood meanwhile drops to 4-3 in conference play and 6-4 overall.