PAOLI — If the Eastern girls' basketball team was living out its fairy-tale season, it finally ran into the monster at the end — itself.
In a game filled with twists and turns, the Musketeers' story came to an end in the semifinals of the Class 2A Paoli Regional. A disastrous second quarter turned a big lead into a deficit and Eastern could never get its rhythm back in a 42-38 defeat at the hands of North Posey on Saturday morning.
In between, the Musketeers got to experience the whole gamut of emotions, from the elation of an 11-2 lead at the outset to the disappointment of being outscored 16-4 in the second period to trail at halftime. From watching the Vikings crash the glass time and again to turn second chances into points, to reclaiming the lead deep into the fourth quarter, only to watch it slip away a possession later.
This one pretty much had it all, even an unpredictable villain.
"In the first quarter, we played really well," said Eastern senior Brooke Rodewig, one of three Musketeers who finished up their high-school careers with the loss. "We got a lead and we thought we could relax. We beat ourselves in the second quarter. That was our fault."
Still, when it looked like the Vikings would cruise to the win, Eastern rose to the occasion.
Struggling to move the ball against North Posey's 2-3 defense, Eastern senior Katie Ernstberger found a way to break through. She scored all nine of the Musketeers' points in the third period, six of them coming at the foul line as she knifed her way into the paint. Though it took the entire quarter for Ernstberger to notch a field goal, her 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer gave Eastern the momentum it would need for a final push to save its season.