EAST PRAIRIE -- Jordan Sanders scored 18 points including four 3-pointers to lead the East Prairie Eagles to their seventh win of the season against nine losses with a 63-48 win against Puxico.
The Eagles opened the contest on a high note when four of the five starters scored in the first quarter led by Sanders' seven points. The Eagle defense employed a full-court press that stressed the Indian offense and Puxico could manage only eight points in the frame. East Prairie led 17-8 after one.
"We still struggled at times in spurts, but defensively it was the best four quarters we've played all year. We switched from our zone defense to man, and I was proud of our kids for stepping up and helping each other on defense," said Eagle coach Jason Irby.
"We had some kids who stepped up and made some good shots," Irby said. "We out-rebounded them 39-18, and we had been stressing that because Puxico has got some size. We dominated on the boards and got a lot of second shots. We needed a win to regain some confidence and hopefully it will carry over to Friday night."
The visiting Indians got things going in the second quarter thanks to some balanced scoring. Leading scorer Jesse Townsend, who garnered 21 points to lead all scorers, connected on a trey and was fouled on another attempt. He sank all three from the charity stripe to keep his team close, but the Eagles outscored the Indians by two and Puxico trailed by a 31-20 score at the intermission.
The East Prairie lead swelled to 23 when the Eagles hit the Indians with a 16-4 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Puxico, who has only six varsity players, struggled in the late stages as East Prairie kept the pressure on defensively and fatigue really took a toll on the visitors. The Eagles led by a commanding 47-30 at the end of three quarters.
Joining Sanders in double figures were Roger Swann and Jared Carden who had 15 and 10 points respectively.
For Puxico, Townsend was joined by Tyler Ramsey who had 13 including three 3-pointers.
In the fourth period, coach Irby was able to rest his starters and give some jayvee players some varsity experience. The Eagles were outscored but coasted to the win.
East Prairie's jayvee won 49-38 over the junior Indians.
The Eagles will travel to Scott City to take on the state-ranked Rams Friday night.