BAINBRIDGE — Led by game MVP Kayla Hall, the East Clinton girls basketball team opened the 2015 season with a 52-41 win over host Paint Valley Friday in the Paint Valley Classic.
The Lady Astros, 1-0, will travel to Blanchester tonight for another non-league game.
Hall earned game MVP honors with seven points for Steven Gerber’s Lady Astros.
Bre Davis had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead East Clinton. Kaitlin Durbin had 11 points and five rebounds and Mackenzie Campbell had nine points and three steals. Ciarra Cooper had six points, four rebounds, two steals and two rebounds. Sam Gaddis chipped in with five points and three rebounds. Paige Lilly had a steal, an assist and a rebound. Marissa Williams grabbed one rebound.
Battling early-game jitters, East Clinton fell behind 9-4 then rallied to take a 17-15 first quarter lead. The Lady Astros grew the lead to four, 29-25, at halftime.
“We definitely had some first-game jitters and nerves to start but the girls did an excellent job of overcoming those nerves and started playing some good basketball,” coach Gerber said.
In the first half, Gerber said Durbin’s offense (9 of her 11 points in half) and Hall’s defense sparked the Lady Astros lead.
East Clinton outscored Paint Valley 12-5 in the third and seized control of the game. Gerber said defense and the team’s athleticism began wearing on Paint Valley.
“We are very athletic and as the game went on our ability to get out and run wore Paint Valley down,” Gerber said. “The biggest key to the game was our defense, especially in the second half where we held them to 16 points and shut down their best player holding her to three points.”
Davis had eight of her team-high 14 in the second half. Cooper had four rebounds, two steals and two assists in the second half.
“It was fun to watch this group close out a win that they have worked so hard for,” said Gerber. “They played all out for 32 minutes, we were balanced offensively and played a great game defensively.”