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Eagles, Eaglettes eliminated in region tournament
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Basketball season is officially over in Van Buren County. Both Van Buren High School teams lost over the weekend in the first round of the Region 3A tournament.

The Eagles were downed 48-45 Sunday by Clarkrange, while the Eaglettes fell 53-35 to Pickett County Friday night. 

The Van Buren Eagles entered the regional tournament bracket with high hopes. The game started off with offensive fireworks. Logan Young made the opening 3-pointer that set the tone for the rest of the contest. Several threes were true for both sides. Jacob Guy showed great ability by responding with 3-pointers after one from Clarkrange. 

Clarkrange played aggressive defense that attempted to smother the Eagles with pressure. The pressure had mixed results. The Eagles responded well, including a stretch of three straight 3-pointers from Guy and Young. 

Rebounding was another bright spot thanks to Hootie Huerta. Defense also became more prevalent with great plays from Dakota Simmons and Hunter Evans complementing the offense’s strengths.

In the second half, steals played a large role with Evans and Guy contributing massively in the category. The thefts set up several inside baskets and 3-pointers from Guy and Young once again. The Eagles passing attack also generated several great opportunities through a patient approach.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles forced several mental mistakes from the Buffaloes that maintained a close score. Several Evans’ steals late kept the game dramatic and exciting. 

The Eagles scored a late two from Guy to give them one last chance to bring the game into overtime. The Eagles came close, but could not come up with the game-saving points. 

Despite the end result, the Eagles showed many bright spots in the game and displayed the true hearts of winners.  This is a game that showed what the Eagles are all about, and even through a loss it was still a pleasure to watch them.

On Friday night, the Eaglettes played the first game of the region tournament against the Lady Bobcats. The first quarter started with Pickett County using rebounds and turnovers to jump into an early lead. However, the Eaglettes fought back valiantly utilizing a Chloe Hillis steal and Deserai Baker’s dominance under the basket to bring themselves to a 16-15 lead toward the end of the quarter. Gabrianna Young ignited the deep game with the first 3-pointer. 

The second quarter took more of the defensive tone as points came sparingly between the two teams. Chloe Ragland was a team player, and her ability to draw charging fouls kept the game competitive. 

At the start of the second half, fouls became a noticeable aspect. The Eaglette defense began to create turnovers, led by Riley Scoggins. Pickett County slowly began to build up its three-point game as the quarter progressed. Van Buren County began to show its physicality by forcing several fouls and aggressively going after the ball in a battle that involved several players. Emma Scoggins showed great perseverance with an and-one that energized the crowd.  

In the fourth quarter, Pickett County displayed a powerful defense that gave the Eaglettes issues. Van Buren County showed great efficiency with its rebounding, with Baker snagging the majority. 

Free throws became rampant in the quarter with seemingly every other drive resulting in free-throw attempts. Despite a great deficit, the Eaglettes showed great determination and scored eight unanswered points led by several Chloe Ragland free throws. 

In the final minute, the eighth-graders came into the game to much excitement. The highlight was a steal by Emily Allen that was a great display of the future. In the end, the Eaglettes did not go down without a fight.