EATON — Eaton’s varsity girls’ basketball team put together a 22-point fourth quarter to turn a “back-and-forth” game into a 44-33 win against the Ross Rams.
The game was held at Eaton High School on Saturday, Jan. 7, as part of a full day of basketball action. The girls’ varsity game was the fourth of five games held that day, including boys’ freshman, and boys’ and girls’ JV and varsity games.
“The game was played in front of our biggest crowd of the season, thanks to the boys/girls quadruple-header, and the loud, supportive crowd was definitely a factor in our comeback,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart said. “Overall, it was a gritty, tough, emotional team effort that perfectly reflects who we are becoming as a team. I have been coaching basketball at the high school, small college and club levels for more than 25 years now, and I can truly say this is one of my favorite teams I have coached because of their resiliency and their desire to play hard and compete. I’m excited to see how much we can continue to grow and improve throughout January and February.”
The Lady Eagles (5-7, 2-3 SWBL Southwestern) jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and led 10-5 at the end of the first quarter. Ross bounced back in the second quarter to tie the game, 14-14, as the half ended.
Ross opened the third period with a 10-2 run to take an eight point lead, 24-16. Eaton bounced back in the closing minutes of the quarter to pull within three points, 25-22. Annika Gels hit a key goal to end the quarter and swing the momentum back to Eaton.
Freshman Bailey Shepherd provided a spark for the team in her first significant varsity action, turning momentum back to the Eagles with the defensive pressure and strong passing, according to Honhart.
Eaton’s Ashlynn Black (five points) helped the Lady Eagles keep the surge to open the period, hitting a three-pointer and a field goal to give Eaton the lead. The game was back-and-forth for the next several minutes, before Eaton again took control.
With a 33-32 lead midway through the quarter, Eaton went on a 11-1 run to finish out the win.
Sophomore’s Emily Dungan (four steals) and Gels (five rebounds) paced Eaton with 14 points each. Sophomore Becca Mowen added six points and six rebounds. Senior Megan Lipps also pulled down six rebounds.
Earlier in the week, Eaton lost a tough game at Franklin, 52-49. The Lady Eagles built a five point lead in the first quarter, but were outscored 20-10 in the second.
“Honestly, we played our best game of the season,” Honhart said. “Though the record might not show it, Franklin is a very good team. Our players executed our offense better than they have at any time so far and made a number of touch shots.”
They played even in the third period with Franklin leading by seven to start the fourth. Eaton had their best offensive quarter in the final period with 16 points, but Franklin was able to hold on for the win.
All nine Eaton players who got in the game scored, led by Dungan, who scored a team-high 14 points, while Mowen and junior Bailee Worley scored 10 points each. Worley also contributed five steals, eight rebounds and had five assists, while Mowen also had eight rebounds.
“It was disappointing to lose a game that has become a great conference rival for us, but I was proud of the progress. Our players invested everything they had into the game, which is all you can ask as a coach,” Honhart said. “We walked away saying everyone, coaches included, just need to find a way to make a few more plays.”
Eaton’s next five games are all SWBL match-ups. They will host Monroe on Thursday, Jan. 12, and then travel to Oakwood on the following Saturday.