EAST WENATCHEE — A dominant third quarter helped the Eastmont girls take a 53-37 win over Eisenhower on Friday night, one the Wildcats hope will give them momentum as they make a push for the Big Nine’s No. 2 seed down the stretch in league play.
“For this team, it’s (the win) a big deal,” said Eastmont coach Tessa Bromiley, whose team improved to 7-4 in the Big Nine, one game behind second-place Davis. “This team seems to play best at home, so we hope we can take that and move into second place and get home-court advantage (in the postseason).”
The Wildcats led by just six at halftime, but they ended the third quarter on a 12-2 run to pull out to a 45-29 advantage. They also benefitted from the absence of the Cadets’ (0-11 league) leading scorer, post Fawn Whitefoot (12 points), who left the game with a leg injury after coming down awkwardly on a rebound attempt.
Sophomore post Savannah Jackson shined with 16 points and seven rebounds for Eastmont.
“She was strong defensively, and she had to guard on the outside, which gets her momentum going,” Bromiley said. “She got some steals and was able to push the ball tonight.”
Jackson was also the recipient of some increased attention to the paint by Eastmont’s offense.
“Against those smaller teams, we pound it into the post,” Bromiley said. “We could have asked for more finishes, but we were able to get (offensive) rebounds and finish our shots.”
Eastmont won the rebounding battle 33-22.
Senior guard Kylie Buterbaugh also had 16 points for the Wildcats — she made four 3-pointers, including three in the third quarter.
Nikki Gilbert added five assists for the Wildcats.
Eastmont 75, Eisenhower 27
The Big Nine-leading Wildcats (10-1 league) essentially put the last-place Cadets (0-11) away by opening the game on a 19-2 run, but a 15-0 run to start the second half was the final nail.
Junior post Nolan Wirth led Eastmont with 20 points on 9 for 12 shooting, while senior guard Trea Thomas added 18 points. Thomas needs just 32 more points to break the Eastmont career scoring record.
“When we can do (53.6 percent field goal shooting), those are numbers we can live with,” Eastmont coach Mike Waters said. “And we were blood-thirsty defensively. They couldn’t go anywhere.”
Eisenhower, which committed 25 turnovers, played without top player Andy Soto, and 6-foot-6 post Miguel Gomez left early in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
J.J. Jahr scored 13 and Dalin McDonnell chipped in 10 for Eastmont.
Jahr, Thomas and Jeremy Adams each had four assists.
The Eastmont basketball teams continue Big Nine play Saturday with a doubleheader at Moses Lake.